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Jan 26th
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LIHEAP funds released, program to provide heating assistance to local families

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MARSHALL COUNTY - With the winter season quickly approaching, many families are already wondering how they will pay for home heating costs. In the wake of numerous federally funded programs seeing reductions, the cabinet for Health and Family Services announced a little good news this week in that they are releasing $24 million to Kentucky to help low-income families heat their homes this winter.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP), offers assistance to families to help cover the cost of  energy bills, particularly during the very cold and hot months, with the number of households seeking energy assistance over the past few years reaching record numbers.
Eligibility requirements for heating and cooling assistance typically entail the following:
        Income must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level;
  • Pay home-cooling costs for which they are responsible either by direct payment or as an undesignated portion of their rent;
  • Have liquid resources at or below $2,000 except when a household member has a catastrophic illness, in which case applicants may have as much as $4,000 in liquid assets if those assets are used for medical and living expenses.
  • A household with a member age 60 or over or with a disabled member who has a liquid resource limit at or below $3,000.
Pat Wilson, commissioner of CHFS’s Department for Community Based Services, said her agency staff knows the significance of the federal energy assistance for Kentucky families. “We’ve already seen a glimpse of the colder season ahead,” Commissioner Wilson said. “Once winter is here, families who need the most help heating their homes will have it because of this funding.
"We try to help as many families as possible with the available LIHEAP funds,” she said. “In addition, several community organizations and utilities also offer programs that can provide home energy assistance.” Commissioner Wilson said the eligible households that can benefit most – seniors, the disabled and families with young children – are encouraged to take advantage of LIHEAP assistance.
LIHEAP is a short-term aid program that operates its first phase of subsidies in November and December and is available to customers at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
For example, a family of four must have a monthly income of no more than $2,422. Applications for the subsidy phase of the program will be accepted alphabetically at all community action agencies from today through Friday, Dec. 16, based on the first letter of the household’s last name.
The crisis phase, for families in a home heating emergency, begins on Jan. 4, 2012.
For more information on application dates or qualification information, please call 527-9766, or visit the office of West Kentucky Allied Services at 1107 Poplar Street in Benton.