The Ada County agency tasked with handing out record federal heating assistance grants is experiencing record numbers of calls this winter.
The El-Ada Community Action Partnership is taking 65 to 70 applications a day for heating assistance, said agency energy assistance director Jenifer Scott.
"We have a situation in Ada County where our appointment line is very, very, very busy," Scott said.
Anticipating high winter energy costs and increased need, Congress approved $5.1 billion in heating energy assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, just before the election. Idaho's share of the funds is about $27 million, some of which goes to Idaho Indian tribes and some to fund weatherization.
The bulk of it, $17.9 million, will go to help low-income Idahoans pay their heat bills, potentially increasing the average benefit by more than $100 over last year.
"Besides having more money to keep people warm, we're changing the eligibility guidelines so more low-income folks will have access to assistance," Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter stated.
Call 208-322-1242 in Ada County to make an appointment to apply for assistance and see citydesk.boiseweekly.com for eligibility requirements.