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 PITTSBURGH, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Monday begins an intensive outreach initiative to assist individuals and families who apply for assistance with their heating bills from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Columbia Gas said today.
 Employees will be at Columbia offices to help customers fill out the LIHEAP applications and to answer any questions about the program.
 Columbia service personnel will have supplies of LIHEAP applications in their trucks and they have been specially trained to assist customers in filling out the applications while they are in a customer's home on a service gas call.
 Joining Columbia in the LIHEAP effort is former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris, who is volunteering his time to help remind customers that the LIHEAP grant is not a loan, but is money that will be applied directly to their gas bill.
 Columbia has prepared special LIHEAP posters, handouts and other materials to be distributed at banks, unemployment offices, shopping centers, food pantries, social service agencies and churches to urge customers to call Columbia and apply for the program.
 In addition, Columbia has planned a "LIHEAP" week, Dec. 13 through Dec. 17, at the following sites in order to "reach out" in the community to help its customers fill out the LIHEAP applications.
 -- Dec. 13 - Unemployment Office, 130 N. Duke St., York, Pa., 9 a.m.-noon;
 -- Dec. 14 - Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, 331 S. George St., York, 9 a.m.-noon;
 -- Dec. 15 - York Community Services, 175 E. Main St., New Freedom, Pa., 9 a.m.-noon;
 -- Dec. 16 - Crispus Attucks, 605 S. Duke St., York, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; and
 -- Dec. 17 - Spanish/American Center, 200 E. Princess St., York, 9 a.m.-noon.
 LIHEAP is a federally funded program that is administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
 It is estimated that over 1 million households in Pennsylvania may qualify to receive LIHEAP funds. t?h homeowners and renters are eligible. Many of those who have received LIHEAP funds in the past are older adults, the unemployed, underemployed, single parents and families with small children.
 The sign-up period for the 1993-94 program continues through Jan. 14, 1994.
 A second component of the LIHEAP program -- "Crisis" -- helps people in emergency situations. Crisis funds can be used to repair a furnace or gas line, or to help eligible customers pay gas bills that are more than $350 overdue. The "Crisis" program begins Jan. 15, 1994, and runs through March 15, 1994.
 LIHEAP eligibility is based on household income. For a one-person household, the maximum annual income is $9,409 (or $784 per month); for two persons, $12,730 (or $1,061 per month); for three persons, $16,051 (or $1,338 per month); in a household of four persons, $19,372 (or $1,614 per month); and for each additional person, add $3,321.
 LIHEAP recipients should know that no lien is placed on their homes or property.
 To apply for LIHEAP, customers must provide the following information:
 -- Social Security numbers for everyone living in the household, age 16 or older;
 -- Proof of income for all family members; and
 -- Most recent gas bill.
 Anyone having questions or needing help filling out the LIHEAP application can call Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania's toll-free hotline at 1-800-272-2714.
 The outreach program is an extension of Columbia's LIHEAP cooperative venture in western Pennsylvania with Equitable Gas Company and The Peoples Natural Gas Company.
 -0- 12/3/93
 /CONTACT: Rosemary Martinelli of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, 412-344-9800/

CO: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: OIL SU:

CD-LJ -- PG014 -- 0445 12/03/93 18:15 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 3, 1993
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