With the Grand Valley experiencing the longest stretch of record cold nights in nearly a decade now is not a good time for residents to go without heat, however many will be forced to cut back because of difficulty paying the utility provider. LEAP usually helps to alleviate some of that burden for low income households, but because federal funding for the program has been cut from $60 million last year to just $31 million this year, those in need are only receiving about half the benefit amount which on average is $280. The minimum benefit this year is $100, last year the minimum was $200. Officials with LEAP say the state saw a windfall of money last year because of the increased price of natural gas and oil. Since prices have dipped, less money has been allotted for these kinds of assistance programs. The amount of the LEAP benefit is based on household size, income, and type of residence.
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