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Capitol Briefs: State announces energy assistance, violence prevention grants, EV rebates

The Illinois State Capitol is pictured in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Thursday, low-income families in Illinois can begin applying for state assistance on their natural gas, propane and electricity bills.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, has $300 million available. Families can apply by visiting helpillinoisfamilies.com or by calling 1-833-711-0374. Information on other state assistance programs can be found on that website as well.

A list of local agencies can be searched by county here.

LIHEAP provides one-time payments directly to energy service providers on behalf of recipients.

Families who earn up to two times the federal poverty level are eligible for LIHEAP. That works out to a 30-day gross income below $2,265 for a one-person household, $3,052 for a 2-person home, $3,838 for a three-person home, $4,625 for four people, $5,412 for five people and $6,198 for six people.

The level of assistance received is needs-based, and last year’s LIHEAP recipients received an average of $1,330 per household, according to the governor’s office.

EV REBATES: A state rebate program for the purchase of an electric vehicle remains open through Sept. 30, and the state announced this week a new rebate application window will open on Nov. 1.

The current round of funding opened on July 1, offering a $4,000 rebate for individuals purchasing an all-electric vehicle and a $1,500 rebate for an all-electric motorcycle. Applications for the first round of funding must be postmarked by Sept. 30 and submitted within 90 days of the vehicle’s purchase.

The next round will open on Nov. 1 and run through January 2023.

The rebates don’t apply to hybrids or vehicles not licensed for Illinois roads. It also doesn’t apply to rented or leased vehicles.

The purchaser must reside in Illinois on the date of the vehicle purchase and it must be purchased at a state-licenses dealer. Documentation requirements include a copy of purchase invoice, proof of purchase, vehicle registration, and IRS W-9 or W-8 forms. The purchaser must also own the vehicle for 12 months.

As of July 1, the fund paying out the rebates had a balance of $17.9 million, and rebates were subject to funding availability.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the rebates, gives priority to low-income applicants whose income doesn’t exceed 80 percent of the state median income and expedites grants to those individuals. Thus far, as of Aug. 25, according to IEPA, the state has received 72 low-income applications and approved 22 of them. ​It had received 898 that didn’t meet the low-income threshold.

More information can be found here https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/ceja/Pages/Electric-Vehicle-Rebates.aspx.

ANTI-VIOLENCE FUNDING: Gov. JB Pritzker’s office announced grant opportunities are available for $100 million in funding made available through the state’s Reimagine Public Safety Act.

The RPSA, an effort to drive violence-prevention funds to the state’s most dangerous areas, was approved in 2021 and received $250 million in the state’s current-year budget from federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The funding announced this week will support nonprofit community-based organizations and local governments in 16 municipal areas outside of Chicago, according to the governor’s office.

The state also made $113 million available in May, for which the application window is still open.

The state’s Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, or OFVP, convened local advisory councils in the 16 non-Chicago communities eligible for funding, which include Aurora, Belleville and East St. Louis area, Berwyn-Cicero area, Calumet City area, Chicago Heights area, Danville, Decatur, Joliet, Kankakee, Maywood-Bellwood areas, Peoria, Rock Island, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana-Champaign area and Waukegan-North Chicago area.

The OFVP will award grants through the program to eligible nonprofits that focus on violence intervention programs, mental and behavioral health programs designed to help victims of trauma, and for youth mentoring programs.

Information about the grant program can be found at http://www.dhs.illinois.gov/rpsa, and resources for interested organizations can be found at http://www.DHS.illinois.gov/Grants.

ETHANOL PRODUCTION: The state announced this week that it and surrounding states have been granted a federal emergency waiver by the U.S. EPA that allows for high volatility gasoline to be sold through Sept. 15.

The governor’s office said it will reduce fuel disruptions following an Aug. 24 fire which broke out at a BP facility in Whiting, Ind., which produces 430,000 barrels of oil per day.

Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin also requested and were granted the waiver which, the Pritzker administration noted, would boost the use of ethanol produced by Illinois corn farmers.

“After learning of the electrical fire at the BP facility in Whiting, our administration has taken proactive steps to increase gas supply and reduce barriers so all Illinoisans have access to the fuel they need,” Pritzker said in a news release. “This coordinated effort with our neighboring states will reduce the chance of disruptions and keep the people and businesses of Illinois moving.”

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Capitol News Illinois

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Illinois. It is funded by donations from the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The mission of Capitol News Illinois is to provide credible and unbiased coverage of state government. Capitol News Illinois provides year-round, daily coverage of the Legislature, including committee hearings; state agencies and issues; state office holders; and the Illinois Supreme Court and legal matters.

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