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From the KPA News Content Service
FRANKFORT – The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Monday announced that $24 million in federal funding has been released to Kentucky to help low-income families heat their homes this winter.
The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services released funding for states’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP), which help families pay their energy bills, particularly during the very cold and hot months.
In Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services administers the program through a contract with Community Action Kentucky, which disburses benefits through Community Action Agencies across the state. Every county has at least one staffed CAA office.
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,” Wilson said in a press release. “Once winter is here, families who need the most help heating their homes will have it because of this funding.”
Through the CAA staff, “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.”
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.
The $24 million is the amount of the first funding allocation from HHS. Also, Kentucky carried forward $3.1 million in LIHEAP funding from last fiscal year, bringing the current total funding allocation to $27.1 million.
Funds provided by HHS for LIHEAP in 2011 are less than the amount Kentucky received last year. Individuals are encouraged to apply early while funds are available.
For more information about applying for assistance, visit www.communityactionky.org or call (800) 456-3452 to find a local Community Action Agency.