MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KREX) — Between the increased cost of heating fuel and the recent below freezing temperatures, participation is expected to go up based on needs. Financial assistance starts at $250 per year, but may range up to one-thousand dollars for people who have fallen behind on payments.

The LEAP program coordinators encourage everyone who needs help to check their eligibility.

“It’s a number of factors including income, how many members in the household, but it kind of boils down to, if you are at 60% or less of the states median income, there’s a good chance you’re eligible for LEAP,” Mesa County LEAP Representative Christopher Stone explains.

Stone says LEAP may be able to help you out if you’re behind on your heat and water bill. New federal funds are included this year as an arrearage program for people behind on payments.

The payment will be sent directly to the provider and will show as a credit on the applicant’s heat bill. LEAP benefits are the same regardless of when the application is processed.

Applications are available online, over the phone at 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435, and paper applications can be picked up at Mesa County Department of Human Services, 510 29 ½ Road, Grand Junction.