Watch CBS News

Colorado sees 10% increase of families requesting home heating help this winter

More people asking for help from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program or LEAP
More people asking for help from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program or LEAP 01:45

Temperatures are a big concern for families around Colorado, with many worried about how to pay heating bills during the cold weather months. Now, the state's Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LEAP, is reporting a surge in applications for help over last year.

The latest surge is coming after several years of spikes in demand for energy assistance.

Theresa Kullen, the program manager for LEAP in Colorado, said the need has been growing exponentially. Applications have gone up 10%, year over year, for the past five years.

She also said we're living in an economic situation, where energy prices are rising, but so are the costs of many other things, and that's what's making it so tough for many families.

Touch Screen Thermostat
Mint Images

Last year there were around 115,0000 applications state-wide over the six month period. Since November of this year, when the application period re-opened, they've already received close to 60,000 applications.

"So we've gotten almost half in the first five weeks of our program being open, that we'd get all of last year, so the numbers are up and the need is real," said Kullen.

Kullen has been working with the program for 20 years and said she's never seen the need this big.

LEAP is a program that helps low and moderate-income Coloradans pay part of their winter heating bills over a six-month period. The benefit can range anywhere from $200 to $1,000 over the six-month period. Benefits differ depending on what an applicant's income is, what type of fuel is being used, energy prices, etc.

"People who are on fixed or low or moderate incomes really, really struggle when they get these high winter heat bills. And something's got to give somewhere. So we want to provide that help," said Kullen.

Applications will be accepted through April 30 every year.

The income requirements are: a household size of one equal to or less than $3,081 as the maximum monthly gross income; or for a household size of four equal to or less than $5,926 as the maximum monthly gross income.

Those interested in applying do not need to go into the office to fill out an application or for an interview. Applications can be received online, or by mail. More information can be found here at or the LEAP hotline phone number at 866-432-8435.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.