DUPAGE COUNTY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM BEGINNING OCT. 2ND

Press Release

Contact Information: Joan Olson (630) 407-6015

Monday, August 28, 2017

DuPage County Offering LIHEAP Assistance

DuPage County Community Services will be accepting applications for the annual Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Oct. 2, 2017, until May 31, 2018, or until funds are depleted. As cold temperatures are just around the corner, eligible families are encouraged to take advantage of the program.

Beginning Oct. 2, DuPage County Department of Community Services will accept winter heating applications, by appointment only, from seniors (60+) or people with disabilities.  Beginning Nov. 1, applications will be taken for seniors, disabled, disconnected and households with children 5 and under. All other eligible households may begin applying on Dec. 1. Benefits are paid directly to the utilities on behalf of eligible households.

If your household’s combined gross income for the 30 days beginning with the date of the application is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, you may be eligible to receive assistance. A single-person household can qualify for the program with a monthly gross income of up to $1,508; a two-person household up to $2,030; and a family of four can earn up to $3,075.

The State of Illinois will be offering the PIPP Program (Percentage of Income Payment Plan) for the current program year. PIPP will be offered Oct. 2 through Dec. 31, or until funds are exhausted.

Customers must bring the following required documentation when applying for assistance:

• Social Security Cards for all household members;
• Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30 days prior to the date of application beginning with the date of application;
• Current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for the energy directly); and

For more information, DuPage County residents may call (630) 407-6500, (800) 942-9412 (toll-free) or visit www.dupageco.org.

For a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administering agencies and additional information about the program go to http://liheapillinois.com or call the toll-free hotline at (877) 411-WARM.

PUSH TO RAISE THE AGE

Research suggests that kids who drink alcohol and use tobacco products are more likely to become addicted to these substances as adults.  These addictions can lead to health complications later in life. The drinking age in Illinois was increased to 21 from 18 in 1980.  Local leaders are now taking similar actions with tobacco products .  Late last year the City of Naperville raised the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 from 18, following the leads of Chicago, Oak Park and Evanston. Lake County became the first county in Illinois to raise the age to 21 years old to purchase tobacco and Kane County is considering raising the age to purchase tobacco products as well.

During the September 19, 2017 DuPage County Health and Human Service Committee meeting I suggested that DuPage County consider raising the age to purchase cigarettes to 21 from 18. Although there did not seem to be much interest from the committee, I plan to pursue this matter because this is the exact type of conversation the Health and Human Service Committee should be having.

 

 

You can learn more about this topic using the following links:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2017-09-13/northern-illinois-county-raising-minimum-tobacco-age-to-21

http://kanehealth.com/tobacco21.htm

https://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/health-effects/nicotine-health/index.html

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20170517/kane-county-considering-change-in-age-to-buy-tobacco

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20161206/news/161209339/

HOOP-LA

Last week I wrote about Nicole Virgil and her family.  The Virgil family lives in Elmhurst and are avid gardeners. Nicole Virgil’s desire to provide clean, fresh, real food to her family has transformed into something very special.  What went from wanting to provide healthy food for her children has know become a small business that provides a healthy alternative for her neighbors as well. You can read more here.

In  2015 Nicole and her husband, Dan, decided to put up a hoop house. The hoop house is built of plastic pipe, reinforcing steel bars sticking up from the ground and translucent plastic sheeting. This makes a temporary greenhouse over raised beds in the family’s backyard.  The hoop house allows the family to garden all year.
After a neighbor complained the Virgil’s had to take the hoop house down. After much back and forth with the City of Elmhurst it was decided that the city should discuss hoop houses. On March 13, 2017 the Virgil family with their supporters attended the Development, Planning and Zoning meeting. Many spoke in support of the hoop house during the public comment. They provided the committee members with research on 18 different municipalities that allow hoop houses. It was stated that the discussion of the hoop house would be continued and placed on the agenda in late April or early May.

July was here and the Virgil family had heard nothing.  Dan Virgil went to a DP&Z meeting to inquire. It was discovered that a decision had been made to  “expire” the topic without notification or explanation.

So here we are.  The latest on the plight of the Virgil family and the hoop house.

My Suburban Life reports the following:
Mary Stroka – mstroka@shawmedia.com

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Development, Planning and Zoning Committee announced its decision Aug. 28 to delay discussing hoop houses until after the lawsuit surrounding a local family’s hoop house concludes.

Nicole and Dan Virgil and other hoop house supporters had spoken during public comment at the committee meeting about their desire to see the committee discuss the issue and come to a resolution.

Mark Daniel, Virgil’s attorney, said the Virgils were charged with violating city code for having a hoop house in their backyard in the 500 block of Fairview Avenue. A hoop house is a temporary gardening structure used to extend the growing season into winter.

After much public comment, council discussion and controversy, it was taken down Feb. 24 to eliminate the threat of city-imposed fines.

The Virgils have filed a lawsuit against the city. The next hearing date for the case in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of DuPage County is scheduled for Oct. 31.

Daniel said the transcript from the January administrative hearing at Elmhurst City Hall was impacted by a “horrific” setup for the audio recording.

“Lots of discussion was not captured by the audio recording. There’s a lot of paper ruffling and talking over that made it very difficult for the court reporter to transcribe [what was said],” Daniel said.

This delayed the date for the court hearing, Daniel said. Judge Paul Fullerton may make a decision Oct. 31 or later, depending on the judge’s schedule, he said.

“Oct. 31 is well after we would have started constructing the hoop house for this season,” Nicole Virgil said. “That’s part of why this is so discouraging. The process is going so slowly that it seems hard to achieve a resolution.”

You can read the full story here.

You can read more herehere, and here.