By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
Heating bills are increasing as temperatures decrease, and the Kentucky River Foothills Development Council is available for help.
The “crisis” period of the annual Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program begins today.
“The deepening of cold winter weather combined with rising utility costs leaves many households unable to fully meet heating bills or purchase sufficient bulk fuel to keep their families safe and warm,” said Karen Bailey, spokesperson for Kentucky River Foothills Development Council.
The household must meet the basic LIHEAP eligibility criteria, including:
• The household is within four days of running out of fuel if bulk fuel (coal, fuel oil, propane, kerosene or wood) is the heat source.
• The household has received a disconnect notice if natural gas or electric is the heat source.
• The household’s home heating costs are included as an undesignated portion of the rent, and the household has received an eviction notice for nonpayment from the landlord.
“Eligible participants do not need to have an unpaid energy bill or be out of fuel to receive energy assistance in the subsidy portion of this program,” Bailey said.
Qualifying participants will receive an energy assistance voucher. The benefit amount each household receives will be based on its level of poverty and the type of fuel used for heating.
“All eligible households will receive a benefit until LIHEAP funds are fully depleted,” Bailey said. “Benefits will be made payable to the household’s primary or secondary heating fuel vendor.”
Applications will be taken Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the KRFDC Outreach Office, 123 Pine St., Richmond. The office is closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Applications will be taken through March 31 or until funds are depleted.
“Both homeowners and renters who are responsible for their heating bills and have low or fixed incomes are eligible,” Bailey said.
Applicants must bring the following information:
• Most recent disconnect notice for electric or natural gas provider, an eviction notice if heating expenses are included in rent
• A metered utility bill (natural gas, electric, or water) as proof of address
• Social Security cards, or permanent residence card (Green Card) for each member of household
• Proof of all household income from previous month.
Interested energy customers can find out more how to apply for LIHEAP/heating assistance by contacting the Madison County Outreach Office at 623-6514.
See related graphic for income guidelines for eligibility.