MCS Community Services has received a bump in funding for the local LIHEAP and Community Services Block Grant Program this year thanks to increased funding from the state and federal CARES Act money.
Tammi Lonergan of MCS Community Services who administers both programs says that the state has increased thresholds for those who can apply: “The LIHEAP funding is Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program. It’s an ongoing program that we have every year, but with the additional funds, they have upped the cap on the income poverty level that people can make to qualify for the program, which means more people will be using the program, more people will be eligible for the program. They have also increased the benefit amount per household so that you will be getting a bigger benefit this year to help with your utility bills.”
Here’s the breakdown of your eligibility threshold by family size and 30-Day Gross Income:
1 person — $2,147
2 people — $2,903
3 people — $3,660
4 people — $4,417
5 people — $5,173
Lonergan says that MCS services about 1,400 households a year and the block grant program services approximately 50 households across Morgan, Scott, and Cass counties.
Lonergan says that people need to set up an appointment either in person or over the phone with the MCS offices by either visiting their office at 345 West State Street or by calling 217-243-9404. She says those applying need to bring documentation to qualify for the programs: “For the LIHEAP program, what they need to do is to call our office, set up an appointment. They will need social security cards for everyone in the household, their most recent gas, electric, propane, and water bill, and proof of the household gross income from the last 30 days.”
Lonergan says they have experienced quite a few more applicants this year, especially during COVID and with the income thresholds now being moved, she expects even more. The LIHEAP program will be open until May. Lonergan says that there is plenty of money in the program, especially after Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced $327 million in community assistance programs leveraged by American Rescue Plan funding on Monday.