With the economy still teetering on recovery and the holiday season soon approaching, people are struggling just to pay their bills. With the colder weather coming, utilities have started to rise making heating a home a problem for some people.
Community Action of Southern Kentucky may be able to help. Each year the non-profit 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 Community Action serves. The agency also relies on donations from the private sector.
Community Action offers a heating assistance program that 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 from $35 to $200 on a utility bill depending on the need.
The second is the crisis phase. 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.
The heating assistance program began Nov. 5, however, it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon funds were finally released. This has caused a little confusion, says Crystal Bell, Logan County’s Coordinator.
“All the applications we had to process had to be held. There has been a lot of confusion because of it, but now its back to normal and we are trying to work work through it. I know a lot of people came in and may have been told we didn’t have funding that it was held, hopefully by the end of the week we will be back on schedule,” said Bell, who is going through the stack of applications now.
In order to apply for the subsidy phase you will need to bring with you social security cards for everyone in the home, proof of income for the previous month for everyone in the home that is not currently in high school and a statement from the heating source, such as a billing statement.
To apply for the crisis phase you need to bring in the same information as the subsidy phase plus a cut off notice from your heating source.
Community Action also helps with emergency food and housing assistance for those who qualify and they have senior citizen programs in both Russellville and Adairville and a Head Start program in Russellville.
The organization is always looking for additional funding. There are sometimes cases that may not meet the qualifications for the federal and state guidelines, but they are only barely above it and with donations Community Action can help them.
With unemployment and the exhaustion of unemployment benefits, families are facing some difficult roads ahead and will be relying on those who have it a little better to give them a helping hand. If you would like to help a family heat their home you can donate online at casoky.org or visit the local office in Russellville.
Community Action is located on East Fourth Street in Russellville. The hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday 8 a.m-5:30 p.m. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday.