Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in conjunction with the Maine State Housing Authority, will make available $3 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to the Maine Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The additional TANF block grant funding will help low-income families with children cover the cost of fuel this winter.

Acccording to Dan Brennan, MaineHousing’s director, nearly 28,000 Maine households receive assistance with paying their fuel bills each heating season.

HEAP is a federally funded program, administered by MaineHousing, that assists families with energy costs and targets Maine homeowners and renters earning below $18,210 a year for an individual and $37,650 a year for a family of four. Eligible families receive an average of $918 in assistance. The benefit, in most cases, is paid directly to their fuel supplier.

DHHS Commissioner Jeanne M. Lambrew urges people who think they may be eligible to contact their local Community Action Agency to apply.