Less Funding Under LEAP

Ann Miller is a senior doing what she can on a fixed income... dealing with challenges like how she'll make ends meet.

Every November Ann applies for help through a federal program called LEAP which helps disadvantaged families pay their heating bills.

Ann says, "LEAP saved my life and kept me going, kept my oxygen on and kept me warm."

But now a 35% cut in funds means fewer people will get financial assistance.

Under the old guidelines a family of four bringing in less than $3,500 a month would qualify.
Now it's only for families earning less than $2,800.

The Pikes Peak United Way says it's bracing for a flood of calls since utiliity help is the #1 reason most people dial their free hotline.

They're working with several non-profits hoping to pick up the slack.

Colorado Springs Utilities has a program called Project Cope. It's anticipating $1 million will help 4 thousand families this year.
The Home Front Cares helps families of deployed soldiers and Westside Cares also provides much needed funds.

Sometimes the problem is more of a permanent one. Just ask Bernice Lowry.

She needed a new furnace and got one free from the Energy Resource Center.

This year the agency plans to help more than 800 families in five counties, giving them new furnaces, hot water heaters, refrigerators and even helping insulate and weatherize their homes.

Bernice describes it this way. "Like it was Christmas all year. No, it was great. I so appreciate it."

Bottom line, if you need help apply for LEAP starting November first. Even if you're denied call the United Way's 211 hotline.
And if you've got a few spare bucks donate them in your monthly utility bill. Colorado Springs Utilities matches customer donations up to half a million dollars.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by "Outlaw" Location: COS on Oct 17, 2011 at 10:19 PM
    You go Darren in this time of need its not and with the economy in shambles it's Grrreat to hear from someone with compassion I was starting to believe people had forgotten how to be greatful for what the've got and share even if it means no Starbucks everyday Your awsome and you just convinced me COS does have a few good people left and it just earnded 10 bucs a month from me who knows I might need it someday Lets play facebook and have a few 1000 do it lol
  • by to momof4 on Oct 4, 2011 at 08:32 AM
    your self entitlement mentality and ignorance of the operations and what it costs to produce the energy and deliver it into you place of living shines brighter than the sun....
  • by momof4 Location: Crowley county CO on Oct 3, 2011 at 11:45 PM
    Hopefully if they stop paying LEAP altogether the energy companies will stop overcharging EVERYONE for a chance at the government dime. I get LEAP because I can't get by without... but I know that the fact that the state pays it is directly responsible for the fact that energy bills cost so much. They have no reason not to charge so much when the more they charge the more nonexistent money the government uses to pay their exorbitant fees.
  • by Darren Location: Colorado Springs on Oct 3, 2011 at 09:25 PM
    I have donated to COPE since we moved out here in 2006. It only adds a little extra to the total utility bill, and helps those in need.
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