Energy Cost Assistance for Low-Income Households
30 January 2012 - 16:47, by , in House To House, No comments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released more than $863 million to help low-income households with their heating and other home energy costs under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). HHS is releasing the remaining funds, made available by the Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74), to states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia.

“This support is critical for families needing assistance to pay their home energy costs,” said George Sheldon, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “We are releasing these funds today to help ease the burden for those vulnerable families and aid them in getting through the remaining winter months and the summer months ahead.”

LIHEAP assists low-income households, including families with children and seniors, with their home energy needs such as heating in the winter, cooling in the summer, and insulating their homes to make them more energy-efficient and to reduce their energy costs. The $863 million in regular block grant funds released today is in addition to the $2.6 billion released since October 2011. Including funds released today, grantees will receive a total of $3.4 billion in LIHEAP block funds for Fiscal Year 2012.

“Many Americans make difficult decisions whether it’s paying for rent, food and heating costs, which can add a real strain on families,” said Jeannie Chaffin, director for the Office of Community Services. “We are releasing these funds today to help as many families as possible get through this winter season safe and warm.”

Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency. In Arkansas, that is Ms. Cathy Rowe, Manager, Home Energy Assistance Program, Office of Community Services, Department of Human Services.  She can  be reached at 1-800-482-8988 or by email at cathy.rowe@arkansas.gov.  For more information, readers can also visit  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap or http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure/brochure.html.

According to their Web site, in Arkansas the Home Energy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to approximately 60,000 households each year to help them meet the costs of home energy i.e. gas, electricity, propane, etc.  It also offers weatherization services and case management activities which are designed to encourage and enable households to reduce their energy costs and thereby, their need for financial assistance.
Eligibilityis based on 150 percent of current the Office of Management and Budget  (OMB) income poverty guidelines for all households for Regular Assistance. Crisis Assistance is based on 150 percent of current OMB income poverty guidelines for all households.

Assistance is available at your local Community Action Agency.

For more information on eligibility, guidelines and an Arkansas Community Action Agency Directory, readers can visit the Arkansas Department of Human Services web site at http://humanservices.arkansas.gov.

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