Starting Thursday, low-income families can apply for assistance to heat their homes through the coming winter months.
The federal Home Energy Assistance Target (HEAT) program warmed more than 41,500 Utah households last year, with an average one-time annual benefit per family of $317, according to the state's Housing and Community Development Division.
"Falling temperatures put even more pressure on families as they weigh the need to turn on their furnaces," Division Director Gordon Walker said in a statement, crediting the energy subsidies with helping struggling Utahns avoid having to decide whether to pay for heat, food or medicine.
Families qualify for HEAT if they earn less that 150 percent of the federal poverty level about $34,572 annually for a family of four. Applications will be accepted through April 30, 2013 and the assistance can also be used to help cool homes through the summer. Priority is given to households that have elderly or disabled members as well as children under the age of six.
More details about the HEAT program, along with specific county-by-county contact information, is available online at http://www.housing.utah.gov or by dialing 2-1-1.