Project NOW helped more people with energy costs in the past year than ever before.

The Rock Island-based agency’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (known as LIHEAP) provides utility assistance to residents living in Rock Island, Mercer, and Henry counties.

The program is funded through the state, and it provides one-time payments, a percentage of income payments, reconnection assistance, and emergency furnace assistance for those at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Project NOW processed 6,520 applications and generated nearly $7.1 million in payments for the program in the past year, executive director Dwight Ford said in a Thursday release.

Rev. Dwight Ford is executive director of Rock Island-based Project NOW.

“During this difficult time in America, when prices for the most basic of goods and services are skyrocketing, we are pleased to have made such a financial investment to lighten the weight and load that so many families are still carrying,” he said.

The average LIHEAP payout per customer was $593, the Thursday release said. Ford is pleased Project NOW was able to offer support and resources during this difficult season following COVID, he said.

Ford expects next year to serve even more customers with increased gas prices and inflation, noting the LIHEAP program will start back up again September 1st. For more information, click HERE.