Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program: Providing Critical Aid to Support Governor Hobbs’ Heat Relief Efforts

On August 11, 2023, Governor Katie Hobbs declared a State of Emergency to support local heat relief efforts.

“Extreme heat threatens our health. It can lead to illness, emergency room visits, and even loss of life,” said Governor Hobbs. “Arizonans deserve action. I’ll use every resource at my disposal to help keep Arizonans safe as we recover from the heat wave and prepare for future events to ensure our state has the tools to continue growing and thriving.”

The Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a vital resource for households struggling with their utility bills and a key component in the State’s response against the impacts of this unprecedented heat wave.

August is LIHEAP Action Month, which provides us with yet another opportunity to highlight how this critical program can help save lives. In 2022, nearly 20,000 Arizona households were served by LIHEAP, and thus far in 2023, more than 14,000 households have benefitted from the program. In recent years, approximately 70% of the households served by LIHEAP have a vulnerable member, including older adults, children under six and individuals with disabilities. For thousands of at-risk individuals, utility assistance can become an important factor in ensuring their health and safety, and we want to do everything we can to serve even more eligible households by continuing to raise awareness.

What is LIHEAP?

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low income households pay their heating/cooling bills, minimize crises, and make energy costs more affordable through weatherization assistance (insulation installation, window shading, HVAC service, etc.). Eligible households may receive up to $1,200 once per year. Additionally, applicants may receive up to $1,000 in supplemental benefits in applicable crisis situations.

To qualify for LIHEAP, the applicant must have an income that falls within the program guidelines. Priority for service assistance is determined based on vulnerable household members. Higher priority may be granted if someone in the home is a senior citizen (60 years of age & older), a person with a disability, a veteran, or a child under six years old. For more information, please visit des.az.gov/LIHEAP.

LIHEAP for Tribal Members

Several tribal nations receive funding to administer their own utility assistance programs. However, when their funding runs out, as it has for the Navajo Nation, assistance becomes available to tribal members through the State of Arizona.

In these situations, tribal members who have received assistance through their tribe’s program in the last 12 months will not be eligible to receive State LIHEAP benefits, regardless of the amount they initially received. However, if they have not yet received the supplemental benefits for applicable crisis situations, they may be eligible for the additional assistance.

DES has shared information with the Navajo Nation to encourage more members to apply for assistance through Arizona as the summer continues. And as temperatures begin to drop later in the year, State LIHEAP will be available to eligible households who haven’t yet received assistance to help keep them warm.

How to Apply

If you are ready to apply for LIHEAP, you can submit an application online through the DES Housing Stability and Utility Assistance Programs Online Portal. If you are unable to apply online, you may apply by calling 1-866-494-1981 or by downloading a paper application from our portal and faxing it to the number listed, or mailing it to the address listed, on the application.

Additionally, you can visit your local Community Action Agency (CAA) for application assistance, including uploading documents and submitting your application. The CAAs are particularly useful for individuals with a disability, or who may lack access to the internet or a computer. We want to ensure everyone in need has the opportunity to connect to LIHEAP resources, and we are grateful for our longstanding partnerships with the CAAs as we work together to serve our shared communities.

Angie Rodgers