SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Ryan today signed Senate Bill 2235, amending the “John W. Maitland Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program” (LIHEAP) ensuring its continuation through 2007, and increasing DCCA's flexibility in administering LIHEAP to provide needed assistance to Illinois' low income families.
In the 2002 State of the State Address, Governor Ryan renamed the LIHEAP program in honor of Sen. John W. Maitland who had been a member of the initial program design group and a long-time supporter of the LIHEAP program.
“Establishing LIHEAP has been one of Sen. Maitland’s great contributions to the State of Illinois,” said Governor Ryan. “With the support of Sen. Maitland, the General Assembly, community action agencies, utilities, community groups, and consumer advocates, Illinois’ LIHEAP has built upon its initial success and expanded this essential program to bring heating and cooling relief to low-income residents across Illinois.”
LIHEAP is a federal grant program that helps low-income households meet the costs of home energy. DCCA provides funds to the State's network of Community Action Agencies, community-based organizations to enable them to assist income-eligible households in paying a portion of winter heating costs, re-connecting to energy sources, and (depending on program availability) paying a portion of the costs for medically necessary cooling.
In FY '02, the total appropriation for the LIHEAP was $148 million, of which $83 million were federal funds and $65 million were state funds. The LIHEAP program provided assistance to 280,000 persons to date in 2002.
Senate Bill 2235 amended the Energy Assistance Act of 1989 providing additional legislative guidance to DCCA for LIHEAP, and includes a restructuring of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Policy Advisory Council, which advises DCCA on the administration of its energy assistance and weathering programs. The membership of the Council is also expanded to 20 from 15.
Senate Bill 2235 was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Steve Rauschenberger (R-Elgin), Sen. John Maitland (R-Bloomington), and Sen. Donnie E. Trotter (D-Chicago). House sponsors include: Rep. Charles Morrow (D-Chicago), Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville), Rep. Phil Novak (D-Bradley), Rep. Michael Smith (D- Canton), and Rep. Ricca Slone (D-Peoria Heights).