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Crisis Heating Assistance Signups Begin Monday

The thermometer is looking like winter in Kentucky, a reminder that January 11 is when the federal crisis heating assistance program begins. (Greg Stotelmyer)
The thermometer is looking like winter in Kentucky, a reminder that January 11 is when the federal crisis heating assistance program begins. (Greg Stotelmyer)
January 7, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. - After an unusually warm holiday season, winter's cold temperatures have arrived in Kentucky. This coming Monday marks the first day low-income families can sign up for help paying their heating bills.

The crisis phase of the government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, commonly known as LIHEAP, is open to families who face having their heat shut off. Pat Niceley, energy programs director for Community Action Kentucky - the agency which administers the funds, says the emergency money helps some of the state's most vulnerable residents.

"Older people and families with small children," says Niceley. "It's so vital to keep the heat going."

Niceley says to be eligible for assistance, a family's income has to be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level and they have to have a disconnect notice from their utility company, or if they heat with a bulk fuel, they have to be close to running out.

According to Niceley the average crisis assistance last year was $229 with around 173,000 households assisted.

"Nothing is given directly to the applicants," Niceley says. "The funds are paid directly to either the utility company or the propane company."

Niceley says the program will last through March 31 or until all funds are expended. Community Action has offices in all 120 counties. (For more information, call 800-456-3452)

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY