Audubon Area Community Services has been running its LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) for years, and there’s still time and funds available for those who qualify to be given a hand in paying their utility services this winter.
Social Services Support Director Robyn Mattingly said the program has been extremely beneficial for those needing assistance with their winter utility bills and who meet the low-income standards outlined in the agreement.
“We actually have funds for seven surrounding counties,” Mattingly said. “It is income-based. Any home at or below the 130 percent poverty guideline is able to apply for LIHEAP.”
To qualify for the program, applicants must have had their utility services shut off or be within four days of having their utility services shut off. Those who use bulk fuel to heat and light their homes must be within four days of running out of propane or kerosene. Those whose utilities are included in their rent and have received an eviction notice also qualify.
Funding for this program is sanctioned at the federal level from the Cabinet of Health and Human Services and deposited to Audubon Area through the state’s Community Action Kentucky program. Allocated funding for the local LIHEAP nearly doubled after the program ran out of funds on March 6. Mattingly said that funding was meant to last through the end of March.
LIHEAP is broken down into two components — a subsidy program that runs from November to mid-December and the crisis program that runs from January to March 29. Mattingly said LIHEAP funding is allocated for each program separately — $500,000 for the subsidy program and another $1.9 million to cover the crisis program.
There is a little under $1 million left in LIHEAP crisis funds, and Mattingly said that’s enough to cover a great deal of struggling households. Mattingly hopes those funds are sought out before the March 29 deadline.
“We don’t want this money to sit here. We want to get this money out,” Mattingly said. “There are families out there–there may be small children living in the home, there may be elderly individuals living in the home, they may be on oxygen — if they don’t have electricity, that could be life-threatening for them.”
Applicants must bring the following documents in order to apply for LIHEAP benefits:
–A disconnection notice (if heating is acquired electrically or through natural gas)
–An eviction notice and copy of lease (if heating costs are included as a portion of the rent)
–A statement from the utility provider that shows proof the customer has 10 days or less of fuel (if electricity is acquired through a pre-pay program)
–Social security cards or permanent residency cards for each person living in the household
–Proof of income for everyone in the home for the preceding month (SS award letter, check stubs, K-tap, child support, etc.)
–Account number and name on the account for main heating fuel sources and electric
Income guidelines for the LIHEAP program vary depending on the size of the household. LIHEAP will consider funding for household incomes that do not exceed the following monthly minimum amounts listed.
Household Size/Monthly Income
An amount of $468 must be added for each additional family member.
Residents can apply for LIHEAP funding in seven different counties, including Daviess County (1800 W. 4th St.), Hancock County (225 Main Cross St.), Henderson County (324 1st St.), McLean County (290 Hwy 81 N.), Ohio County (130 E. Washington St.), Union County (227 Richards Ln.) and Webster County (73 Stegal St.).