State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl


LIHEAP can help struggling families


Winter has started unusually cold, and more and more local residents may have a difficult time paying for home-heating costs in these tough economic times. †


The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families pay their heating bills. Last winter, it helped more than 600,000 Pennsylvania families keep their homes warm.


You don't have to be on public assistance to receive LIHEAP and you don't have to miss a payment on a heating bill. LIHEAP simply helps struggling families to ensure that their homes are warm enough through the winter.


LIHEAP cash grants can be used to help pay regular monthly heating bills. This year, the program is offering grants from $300 to $1,000 for families that qualify. In addition the program is also offering supplemental cash grants of an additional $100 to vulnerable households where at least one member of the family is older than 60, younger than 5, or has a disability.


To qualify, a household of one can earn up to $17,328; a family of four can earn up to $35,280 and qualify. LIHEAP cash grants do not have to be paid back. More information and complete income-eligibility guidelines are available online at You also can get information about this program through my office.


LIHEAP also offers crisis grants to families facing heating emergencies such as broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced, a lack of heating fuel, or termination of utility service. The minimum crisis grant is $25; the maximum is $400.


Applications for the program are available through the Allegheny County Assistance Office by calling 412-562-0330 and at utility offices and community service agencies. You also may request an application by calling the statewide LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095, or stop by my Pittsburgh office. To apply, you will need the names of every person living in your household, their dates of birth, Social Security numbers and proof of income, and a recent heating bill.


If you can't benefit from this program, but know someone who can, please pass along this information so they donít get left out in the cold this winter.


Rep. Ravenstahl represents the 20th Legislative District in Allegheny County. His office is located at 3689 California Ave, Pittsburgh. The phone number is 412-321-5523.