Governor Beshear Authorizes Funding for Heating Crisis Program
FRANKFORT, KY – January 17, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Steve Beshear today announced his authorization of the immediate distribution of $27 million in federal appropriations to be allocated to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“The availability of energy assistance is critical at this time of the year,” Gov. Beshear said. “Kentucky has already experienced an unusually cold winter. More funding means more families can apply for heating assistance to stay warm.”
On Jan. 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released additional funding to help eligible low-income families meet their home energy needs, bringing the total made available since Oct. 1 to $3.9 billion. Kentucky’s cumulative amount from HHS this fiscal year, combined with carry-forward money from the prior year, is $61 million.
In Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) administers the LIHEAP program through a contract with Community Action Kentucky (CAK), which disburses benefits through Community Action Agencies (CAA) across the state. Every county has at least one staffed CAA office.
Gov. Beshear immediately made the additional funds available to local CAAs.
LIHEAP’s first winter funding phase, for all eligible families who need heating assistance, ended in December.
The program’s crisis phase, for families facing a home-heating emergency, began on Jan. 4, and ends March 31, or when funding runs out.
CHFS Secretary Janie Miller said the additional funding will provide needed assistance to low-income families across the state.
“When families’ energy costs rise during cold winters like this one, it can be a struggle to keep up with those costs,” she said. “This funding will ensure we can reach the households that need emergency assistance.”
Additional crisis funds will be allocated to the local CAAs based on each agency’s percentage of the statewide eligible population at or below 130 percent of the poverty level and their crisis expenditures last year.
Miller said CHFS and CAK are helping as many families as possible with the money.
Last year, Kentucky served about 329,100 families through both winter phases.
Families that can most benefit from LIHEAP may include those with seniors, young children or people with disabilities, Miller said.
LIHEAP is a short-term aid program available to clients 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 $2,389.
Families applying at their CAAs during the crisis component must bring a past due or disconnect notice from their utility provider.
Having past due or disconnect notices are not the only criteria that make households eligible for assistance. If someone’s primary heat source is propane, fuel oil, wood or kerosene and they are within four days of running out of fuel; or if they have received an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent and home heating cost is an undesignated portion of their monthly rent, they may also be eligible for assistance.
To learn more about other family assistance programs, log on to chfs.ky.gov/