Financial Support

Free Tax Preparation

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Matched Savings Accounts

An individual development account (IDA) is a type of savings account designed to help struggling, working people save in order to invest in an asset. People use IDAs to start or grow a business, pay for education, buy a home, or make another qualified purchase. 

Water, Electric & Gas Utility Assistance

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to assist low wage earning households. EAP provides a one-time annual benefit that helps pay for the high cost of heating your home in winter. Additional assistance may be applied if you have received a  disconnection notice or are about to get disconnected. However, an EAP benefit will not cover all of your annual heating and electrics costs, so you should continue to pay your bills regularly.

NWICA provides EAP services in Lake, Porter, Jasper, and Newton Counties.

The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) and Water Program application period closed on May 16, 2022. If you are in need of assistance, there may be other available funding sources. Please contact your local intake center or dial 2-1-1 for referrals to local resources in your community. Applications for PY2023 will open online on October 01, 2022.

Benefits to household and community:

  • Provides eligible households with a one-time payment to the energy provider(s).
  • Provides energy savings education to help reduce energy burden.
  • Reduces potential Health & Safety risks associated with the use of unsafe heating approaches and exposure to extremely cold temperatures.

When can I apply for EAP?

You can apply for an energy assistance benefit for Program Year 2023 from October 1, 2022 until May 15, 2023.

October 1, 2022:      Applications begin to be accepted online.

November 1, 2022:   In person appointments begin. Appointments are not required to apply, you can print the application and/or pick up and/or drop off from any intake site location.  Benefit notifications to applicants and vendors begin.

December 1, 2022:   Energy moratorium begins.  Approved EAP clients cannot be disconnected from electricity and heating service.

March 15, 2023:        End of Energy moratorium protection.

May 15, 2023:           Last day to apply for EAP and Water assistance for 2022-2023 funding cycle.

 



The amount of assistance a household receives is based on a matrix scoring system. Points are earned based on the number of members, total income, dwelling type, heat source, and at-risk factors (elderly, those who are disabled and age of children).

Indiana households that make 60% of the state median income (60 SMI) or less may qualify for these benefits. See table below for a detailed breakdown of income qualifications. If you are unsure, we encourage you to contact us. 

Household Size

1 month

3 months

12 months

1

 $ 2,318

 $    6,954

 $   27,816

2

 $ 3,032

 $    9,096

 $   36,384

3

 $ 3,746

 $ 11,238

 $   44,952

4

 $ 4,459

 $ 13,377

 $   53,508

5

 $ 5,173

 $ 15,519

 $   62,076

6

 $ 5,886

 $ 17,658

 $   70,632

7

 $ 6,020

 $ 18,060

 $   72,240

8

 $ 6,154

 $ 18,462

 $   73,848

9

 $ 6,288

 $ 18,864

 $   75,456

10

 $ 6,421

 $ 19,263

 $   77,052

It may take 55 days to determine if you are eligible, and after your benefit has been awarded it may take an additional 30 days for the utility company to process your benefit. Please continue to pay your utility bills while waiting for your EAP benefit to appear on your account.

If you are receiving a direct pay benefit, it may take up to 120 days, or four months, from the date of your benefit approval for your payment to be processed and mailed to you. Please do not follow up on your benefit if 120 days has not passed yet.

Once you are approved for LIHEAP, you may be enrolled in other programs through your utility provider. Be sure to keep an eye out for notifications.

The Moratorium law (Indiana Code 8-1-2-121) states that from December 1st through March 15th of any year, a regulated utility company may not turn off residential utility service to any customer who is eligible for and who has applied for the Energy Assistance Program. This includes utilities that are electric or gas, including municipally owned, privately owned, or cooperatively owned utilities. Moratorium protection applies once a household submits an application and allows the Local Service Provider time to determine eligibility, so please inform your utility provider if you have submitted an application for assistance and you are scheduled for disconnection.

 

If you are at risk of disconnection, please contact your utility provider immediately and attempt to negotiate a payment arrangement to suspend disconnection action. You may also reach out to the local intake site, or 2-1-1 for referrals to other resources in your community or alternate funding sources.

 

What other types of utility assistance is available?

If you are seeking additional assistance with utilities, or need more help quickly than Energy Assistance Program is able to provide, please apply for EAP, then look into the following resources:

Indiana 211 Partnership – https://in211.communityos.org/

Salvation Army – https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/plugins/gdosCenterSearch?start=1

Catholic Charities – https://www.archindy.org/cc/indianapolis/

Oct. 4, 2022 East Chicago Public Safety Facility 2301 Columbus Drive East Chicago 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Oct. 14, 2022 Training Facility- NWICA 5265 Commerce Blvd. Ste. I Crown Point 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Oct. 18, 2022 Training Facility – NWICA 5265 Commerce Blvd. Ste. I Crown Point 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Oct. 22, 2022 East Chicago Public Safety Facility 2301 Columbus Drive East Chicago 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Oct. 25, 2022 Training Facility – NWICA 5265 Commerce Blvd. Ste. I Crown Point 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Oct. 28, 2022 Training Facility – NWICA 5265 Commerce Blvd. Ste. I Crown Point 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Nov. 1, 2022 Urban League of NWI 3101 Broadway Gary 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
Nov. 9, 2022 Portage Township Trustee 3484 Airport Road Portage 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Dec. 10, 2022 Ivy Tech Community College 3491 Broadway Gary 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Dec. 17, 2022 Ivy Tech Community College 3491 Broadway  Gary 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

 

Home Updates that Reduce Energy Use

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides improvements, such as air-sealing and adding insulation to reduce home energy use. WAP takes the “whole house weatherization” approach that analyzes all of the building systems—the building exterior, heating and cooling systems, electrical system, and electric baseload appliances—through the completion of an in-home energy audit.

Our weatherization program is all about safety. Many homes receiving WAP are older homes and may need repairs. The WAP checks the exterior of the building, and major energy systems to ensure there are no occupant health or safety concerns before installing any energy efficiency measures.

To apply for the WAP program, you should apply for utility assistance and check the “WX” box on the application, indicating that you wish to apply for the WAP program. NWICA only administers WAP in Lake County.

If you are a quality contractor families in Lake County need your help. Submit RFP here.

Community Loan Center

This program is anticipated in 2022. We will offer workplace loans through payroll deductions throughout Northwest Indiana.

LOW INTEREST, RISK-FREE ALTERNATIVE TO PAY DAY LOANS.