Published January 31st, 2022 at 2:49 PM
If you need help paying your utility bills or can’t afford to weatherize your home, you’re not alone.
Our recent Flatland episode on Kansas City PBS prompted a number of inquiries from curiousKC followers. In response, we’ve compiled the following list of local resources for people seeking assistance:
The Missouri Department of Social Services has a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP helps pay home energy bills through two programs:
Energy Assistance (EA) – A one time payment for heating and cooling costs
Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) – Help paying your energy bill if you’re struggling due to a sudden crisis. The amount of aid provided depends on your need.
Spire has a website page dedicated to ways to help folks pay their natural gas bill. These range from community resources to state funds to payment plans. Under certain circumstances, they will also delay a service disconnection for up to 21 days.
Evergy’s financial help page has several assistance options. If you’re having trouble paying your energy bill, they recommend setting up a payment plan first and then applying for aid. Options include LIHEAP funds, Earned Income Tax Credit, the Economic Relief Pilot Program and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Guadalupe Centers helps meet a number of short-term basic needs, including utility assistance. It is located at 1512 Van Brunt Blvd. in Kansas City and is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Case managers there can help walk you through their process for receiving aid, and even other application processes.
The Greater Kansas City Community Assistance Council provides Evergy, Spire or Kansas City Water Department assistance to residents with a cutoff notice. According to the website, they serve people in the Kansas City area who have lost income due to COVID-19. The application can be found here. Other resources available include rent assistance, diapers and pull-ups, food distribution and medicines.
This site is a portal where area residents can find rent and utility assistance through the COVID-19 Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP). The requirements vary slightly depending on funding, household income and the circumstances (some only to aid for hardship bc of the pandemic).
HeatShare is a Salvation Army program that provides emergency utility assistance. Families must prove they’ve been denied assistance elsewhere, then HeatShare assistance is based almost exclusively on need and available funding. They advertise themselves as a last resort when other avenues have failed. A list of service area phone numbers can be found here.
“IShare” and “IRAP” are programs in Independence, Missouri, that assist low-income folks and seniors with their utility bills.
IRAP pays for half of the applicant’s utility bills on a continuing basis. To qualify, your income cannot exceed 150% of the federal poverty level (about $24,000 for a family of two) and you must be over 62 years of age or diabled.
I-Share pays the applicant’s utility bill as a one-time assistance. To qualify, your income cannot exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $24,000 for a family of two) and you must be the utility account owner.
The program also provides late fee waivers and weatherization assistance to qualified people.
This page from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has resources to help Missouri homeowners make their home more energy efficient, as well as utility programs. For resources in Kansas, click here.
This Missouri Department of Social Services Program provides assistance to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which will reduce utility costs in the long run. The application and income requirements can be found here.
Catherine Hoffman covers community affairs and culture for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America. The work of our Report for America corps members is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.