$300,000 in utility bill assistance is available to Peoria's lower-income families
The City of Peoria launched their Utility Assistance Program on Monday to provide lower-income renters and homeowners with financial assistance to pay their utility bills.
A total of $300,000 has been dedicated to the program. The money can provide up to four months of relief for bills in up to 500 households.
The city will make payments directly to Ameren, the energy provider for the Peoria area.
The application opened at 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 19 and closes at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. Applicants must be City of Peoria residents and must be living at or below 80% of the median area income level.
Annual household income limits for the application are:
- Household of 1 person = $47,800 or less
- Households of 2 people = $54,600 or less
- Households of 3 people = $61,450 or less
- Households of 4 people = $68,250 or less
- Households of 5 people = $73,750 or less
- Households of 6 people = $79, 200 or less
The funding for this program comes from the American Rescue Plan Act that was initially intended to provide financial relief during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Joe Dulin, the city's community development director, said these programs are geared toward those who are not eligible for other programs, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The City of Peoria was lucky enough to have the funding to dedicate to the needs of the community, Dulin said.
“That was a direct response from COVID. And the parameters of the program really are pretty wide so that we can use to really help our residents who are maybe impacted by COVID, or have financial struggles that could have been related to COVID," he said.
The Utility Assistance Program is meant to fill the gaps that other programs have left.
“We wanted to create a program specifically targeting residents in that kind of block that might not be eligible for other programs, but are likely living paycheck to paycheck and probably don't have that emergency fund that can substantiate an increase in their Ameren bills," Dulin said.
Online applications are available on the Appreciate Peoria website, and there also is an online training module open with instructions on how to apply. Paper applications are available at City Hall, 419 Fulton Street, in room 203.
Applicants are selected through an online lottery on Oct. 11th, and selected applicants will be contacted by City of Peoria staff.