Community Action of Southern Kentucky began operating the “Crisis” portion of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) on Jan. 9. The program is operated on a first come first serve basis until Federal funds are exhausted.
Crystal Bell is the County Coordinator for Logan. She says this time of year is always the worst for those who have a low to no income and are in need of assistance with heating costs.
Each year the Community Action receives funding from both the federal and state governments to assist those in need, however, there is only enough money to spread around the 10 county area that Community Action serves. The agency also relies on donations from the private sector. So getting in line now would be beneficial.
The heating assistance program comes in two phases. The first is the subsidy phase. This is when people can come in and receive a benefit if they are income eligible and qualify. The benefit can be anywhere from $34 to $274 on a utility bill depending on income, housing and heating source. This phase is now closed. The second is the crisis phase, which is what is being offered now. The crisis phase usually runs from January through March, or whenever the funds run out. This is for people who have either had their heating source turned off because they can’t pay the bill or have received notification it is going to be turned off. It is also for those who are within four days of running out of a fuel source such as propane, kerosene or natural gas and cannot afford to purchase more.
LIHEAP assists households that are in a home heating crisis. The deepening of cold winter weather combined with rising utility costs leaves many households unable to fully meet heating bills or purchase sufficient bulk fuel to keep their families safe and warm. Your local Community Action Partnership (CAP) stands ready to help!
Hundreds of households in Logan County have received financial assistance and emergency services from the LIHEAP Crisis component.
A household shall be considered to be in a home heating crisis situation when the household meets the basic LIHEAP eligibility criteria and:
• The household is within four (4) days of running out of fuel if bulk fuel (coal, fuel oil, propane, kerosene, or wood) is the heat source;
• The household has received a past due/disconnect notice if natural gas or electric is the heat source; or
• The household’s home heating costs are included as an undesignated portion of the rent, and the household has received an eviction notice for non-payment of rent from the landlord.
• Pre-Paid Electric customers are eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance if they certify that they have 10 days or less of pre-paid electric remaining.
For all bulk fuels (wood, coal, propane, fuel oil, kerosene) verification of a crisis situation may be self-declaration by the applicant. For natural gas and electric heated households, the applicant must present an appropriate disconnect notice from the vendor. The benefit amount that each household receives will be based on minimum amount necessary to alleviate the crisis. All eligible households will receive a benefit, although a co-payment may be required. Benefits will be made payable to the household’s heating fuel vendor.
Applications will be taken at convenient Community Action locations. Logan County’s Community Action is located at 235 East 4th Street, Russellville. Applicants are encouraged to apply at the location nearest to them in their county of residence. You can call 270-726-2459 for more information.
“It helps a lot of people,” said Bell of the program. “I feel it’s going to be a very cold winter and people will be running out of their heating source a lot. People need to remember that every little bit helps.”
LIHEAP is a statewide initiative sponsored by Community Action Kentucky in partnership with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Community Action of Southern Kentucky staff provides opportunities for individuals and families to be self-reliant. Learn more at www.casoky.org.
To contact Chris Cooper, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 270-726-8394.