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Alaska Heating Assistance Program and weatherization services.

The Department of Energy as well as the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation work together to provide energy bill assistance and conservation measures to low income customers. The two main programs are the Heating Assistance Program (HAP) as well as weatherization. Grants from these two resources flow to low income families and seniors throughout Alaska.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which is known as Heating Assistance in Alaska, is open for applications during the October time frame. Funding is set at the federal government level, and unfortunately not everyone will be able to be assisted every year.

HAP can help qualified households pay a portion of their home heating bills during the cold winter months. While the application period starts in October, there are some exceptions. For example, those households in Alaska with elderly or disabled members may apply from September 1 through April 30. The standard program will process benefit checks on November 1. There is a crisis component as well which is for people who are just about to run out of fuel or who are faced with a disconnection. The money for the crisis component can also be paid out in short order.

Another option is the Alaska Subsidized Rental Housing Utility Deposit (SRHUD). This will help a household pay a utility deposit. It is offered for those families that are moving into Section 8 or subsidized rental housing. This is an option for those people whose heat is included in their monthly rent. Also a big difference is that applications for the Subsidized Rental Housing Utility Deposit are accepted and processed throughout the year. Call toll free 1-888-804-6330 or if you live in Anchorage call 269-5777.

People can pick up an application for LIHEAP at any Department of Public Assistance office. Or dial 1-800-470-3058 to request an application. Note that it does take time and it may be up to 45 days to process it. Payments from the Heating Assistance Program will be made directly to your energy company or heating vendor. In addition, a notice will be sent to you informing you of the amount of your total grant benefit amount if you are found eligible.




Energy savings from the Alaska Weatherization Assistance Program

Depending on federal government funding levels that are set annually, hundreds of qualified lower income Alaskans have received free home weatherization services from the state. The program was created in an effort to bring their homes up to certain energy-efficient standards and to also ensure it is safe and healthy.

Many homes are able to reduce their winter heating bills by up to 35% as a result of weatherization. In addition it will address any minor safety issues and it will also potentially add years of life to buildings in Alaska's harsh arctic climate. Insulation, caulking, and maybe even furnace repairs are all provided. It is also potentially offered to both renters (with your landlord approval) and homeowners in the state.

Applicants will need to meet a number of conditions in order to be found qualified. However the key factors will be their income as well as family size. Those will also be determined by region and number of immediate family members. The program is a one time only event and you can't receive weatherization services each and every year. In addition many people will be automatically qualified, and this will be households who receive benefits from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Low-Income Home Heating Assistance (LIHEAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Senior Care Benefits or the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP). To learn more call 1-888-804-6330 for information or an application.




By Jon McNamara

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