In Jan. 15 Issue
By Kim GrahamNews-Register Reporter
With below freezing temperatures and snow on the ground for a week some Russell Countians struggle to keep homes heated, but with Kentucky's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) many families will receive help keeping warm.
In Kentucky, the LIHEAP program assists approximately 150,000 families to pay their heating bills each winter.
Kentucky's allotment of block grant funds for the current year is $57 million.
Across the state, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services coordinates with community action agencies to approve families for benefits.
"The crisis program started January 4th and will continue until March 31st or until funds are depleted," said Russell County Outreach Specialist Dana Edward of Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency. "To be approved, applicants must have a disconnect notice or less than a four day supply of heat."
Households which spend a high percentage of total income for home heating during the winter months may receive assistance.
Low income families approved for the program receive aid paying natural gas and electric bills as well as bulk fuels such as propane, fuel oil, wood, and kerosene.
LIHEAP's first winter funding phase, for all eligible families who need heating assistance based on income and housing, began in November and ended in December.
In Russell County, 823 households received heating assistance during the first phase of the program this year down 11 percent from 925 served last year.
Since January 4, more than 170 Russell County residents have been approved for benefits.
"The program will help (Russell County residents) continue their heat so they will no longer be in a crisis situation," Edward said.
Once issued, funds are distributed directly to vendors to bring bills current and keep homes heated.
Families struggling to pay home heating expenses may apply for assistance at the Russell County Courthouse, Room 211 on a first come first served basis.
For more information on the heating assistance program, contact Dana Edward at 270-343-4565.