Out And About: Doris Galarza Is Here To Help You Get Your Energy Bills Paid

Thursday, December 21, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

We’re debuting our weekly series, ‘Out and About,’ online. This series had previously only appeared in our weekly print papers.

On Dec. 20, Doris Galarza, who works with the Universal Prayer Tower — a designated Community Action Agency connected with the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA) — was on hand at the Global Business Center, 840 S. 17th Ave., in Maywood, to help clients get signed up for the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The LIHEAP program assists low-income households with their heating bills during the winter. The Global Business Center, said its owner, Vena Nelson, still flies under the radar when it comes to people knowing that it’s a location for LIHEAP assistance.

Galarza said that someone is onsite from Monday through Friday helping low-income families sign up for assistance.

“We’re open until May 31, or until the money runs out,” she said. Eligible families should have household incomes that are below certain thresholds. For instance, a household of one person should make no more than $17,820 to qualify for the program while a household of eight should make no more than $61,335, according to benefits.gov.

Out and About_LIHEAP chart

“For households with more than eight people, add $6,240 per additional person,” according to the website, which cautions people to always “check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.”

“If you don’t have any income, that’s okay,” said Galarza. “We’ll still help you.”

Galarza said that, lately, it’s become more difficult for families to apply for LIHEAP.

“It used to be that someone could come in and say, ‘I don’t have income,’ and just apply,” she said. “Now, it’s getting kind of hard. You really have to show some kind of proof of income. I try to help everyone as much as I can.”

Galarza said that she also assists people with weatherization programs, adding that she hopes that a new ComEd hardship program will start offering additional assistance to homeowners starting next year.

For more info on CEDA, visit http://www.cedaorg.net. To get connected with Galarza’s organization, Universal Prayer Tower, contact (773) 378-3464. VFP

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