Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 1, 2011

Additional LIHEAP funds on the way

OLIVE HILL — Additional money is on the way to assist Kentuckians having difficulty paying their winter heating bills.

Gov. Steve Beshear recently announced the federal government has appropriated an additional $2.8 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services administers the program through a contract with Community Action Kentucky. That group disburses benefits through community action agencies across the state, including the Northeast Kentucky Community Action Agency in Olive Hill, which covers Boyd, Carter, Greenup, Elliott and Lawrence counties.

Beshear said he would authorize distributing the funds to local agencies as soon as they are released to the state.

Northeast Executive Director David Carroll said Monday he was hopeful the additional money would be sufficient to carry the agency through the remainder of the winter.

According to Carroll, the crisis phase of LIHEAP, for families in imminent danger of losing heat, began on Jan. 4. By Jan. 7, the initial funds were exhausted, he said.

Another crisis allotment was received on Jan. 14, and the agency reopened the application process on Jan. 18. The program is still operating from those funds, Carroll said.

“We’re hoping this additional money will allow us to help with heating assistance payments through February and possibly into March,” he said.

As of Friday, 5,723 households in Northeast’s service area had received just over $1.5 million in LIHEAP assistance since Jan. 4, Carroll said. By far the largest number of households — 2,355 — were in Carter County. Those households received $649,378.

Lawrence had 993 households receiving $250,902; Greenup, 866 households receiving $231,814; Boyd, 844 households receiving $173,311; and Elliott, 665 households receiving $199,485.

Applications for LIHEAP assistance are accepted at any Northeast office. Applicants are required to bring:

‰ Their most recent heating bills or verification from their landlords that the heating expenses are included in their rent.

‰ Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household.

‰ Proof of all household members’ incomes from the preceding month.

Applicants requesting assistance for natural gas or electric must also bring disconnect/past due notices. Households at or above 75 percent of poverty level must pay a portion or co-payment of the minimum necessary to alleviate the crisis. Applicants whose rent includes heat must bring eviction notices from their landlords.

Anyone needing more information may call the Northeast office at Olive Hill at (606) 286-4443, Grayson at (606) 474-8118, Elliott County at (606) 738-6577, Lawrence County at (606) 638-4067, Greenup County at (606) 473-9873, Boyd County at (606) 324-8617, South Shore at (606) 932-9907 or toll free at (800) 817-4443.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or

 (606) 326-2654.

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