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Keeping Kentucky Homes Heated When Needed Most

PHOTO: Applications are being accepted soon for the annual Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. It gives families who need help heating their homes some money to do that in the dead of winter.
PHOTO: Applications are being accepted soon for the annual Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. It gives families who need help heating their homes some money to do that in the dead of winter.
October 17, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - For some families in Kentucky, having to pay winter heating bills can mean sacrifices in putting food on the table or buying winter clothes. For a family of four that brings in less than $2,500 a month, help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

LIHEAP offers two types of assistance, says Michael Moynahan, energy programs director for Community Action Kentucky. One is a subsidy, for which applications will be accepted from Nov. 5 to Dec. 14.

"If you're income-eligible, you'll receive a one-time subsidy that will go to your utility bill. If you're a gas or electric client, or if you heat with bulk fuel, we'll provide a voucher to your bulk fuel vendor."

The second type of assistance, Moynahan says, is offered from early January to late March. This crisis assistance component provides money in the event that someone's heat is on the verge of being shut off.

Moynahan says LIHEAP is an invaluable resource to some of Kentucky's neediest residents.

"Especially nowadays, when utility rates are going up, the cost of bulk fuels are going up - and of course, incomes are not going up - it is going to pay, hopefully, a month or two worth of usage, in the coldest months of the year."

Moynahan says demand for LIHEAP is on the rise, but as with many other federal programs, funding levels aren't where they were a few years ago.

"We saw a 20 percent cut last year. We're not quite sure what the cut may be this year, but certainly that concerns us, because every time they cut the program, you're denying a certain number of families any assistance."

Moynahan says Kentuckians interested in LIHEAP should contact their local community action office for more details or 1-1-800-456-3452.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY