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Seniors staying warm in Chicago

A reminder of things to come
A reminder of things to come

As the weather starts to turn cold in Chicago, many area seniors are worried about keeping their house warm this Winter. Fortunately, there are several programs available to those who qualify that can provide help.

First, if you are having trouble paying for your heating bill, call People’s Gas (866-556-6001) or North Shore Gas 866-556-6004) to discuss payment plan options.

In addition, Chicago offers some assistance programs that might be able to help:

LIHEAP: This Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps customers pay their outstanding bills, reconnect their service, and keep their home’s energy on. LIHEAP is available for those in Chicago living at or below 150% of the poverty level:

A family of 1 must have income of $15,315 or less
A family of 2 must have income of $20,535 or less
A family of 3 must have income of $25,755 or less
A family of 4 must have income of $30,975 or less
A family of 5 must have income of $36,195 or less

To apply for LIHEAP, contact CEDA at 800-571-2332.

Share the Warmth: This is a grant of up to $200 for those who qualify to help offset the costs of heating the home. Call the Salvation Army at 773-725-1100 or visit for more information.

EHAP: The Emergency Housing Assistance Program provides grants for repair or replacement of heating units, roof repair, and other energy conservation activities. To get more information on EHAP, call 311.

Anyone interested in applying for one of these programs should do so IMMEDIATELY as funds usually run out shortly after becoming available due to overwhelming demand.

Senior homeowners who need financial help with more than just their heating bill (i.e. property taxes, prescription drug costs, home repairs, etc.) should consider a reverse mortgage.

This unique, government insured loan allows those 62 and over to unlock some home equity without having to sell their home, give up ownership, or take on the burden of a monthly payment.

Mark Schmidt has been a reverse mortgage specialist since 2004. In that time, he has guided hundreds of seniors through the reverse mortgage process. He is a veteran in the industry at a time when many others are “jumping on the bandwagon” of reverse mortgages.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Mark also has an MBA from Loyola University and twelve years as a financial analyst with Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. To understand the needs of his clientele better, he was designated a Certified Senior Advisor in 2007 by completing additional studies of the social, physical, and financial aspects of aging.

Mark is the reverse mortgage expert for and is the author of “Reverse Mortgages: Facts and FAQs” which was in’s top five list for reverse mortgage books before selling out.

Mark can be reached at 773-504-9633.