CAA offers heating assistance

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The cost of heating is an obstacle for many in Harlan County.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) available through the Harlan County Community Action Agency is aimed at helping those in lower income brackets pay the increased heating costs associated with colder weather.

Mistie Sanders, CSBG Director at Harlan County Community Action Agency, shed some light on the process of applying for LIHEAP.

“Our LIHEAP programs – we have two different ones – we start in November and December with subsidies, and for that one you do not have to have a disconnect notice,” Sanders said. “Its income based and will help with heating bills.”

According to Sanders, there is also the LIHEAP crisis program that begins in January.

“You do have to have a disconnect notice from an electric company to apply for that one,” Sanders said.

The process of applying for the program begins with a phone call to the Harlan County Community Action Agency. There are some items required for the application.

“We need proof of last month’s income, social security cards for everybody in the household, a picture ID, and the electric bill,” Sanders explained.

The CAA does not currently accept visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions, making a telephone call the best method of contact.

“The secretary will be able to tell callers what to do and give them email addresses for who they need to contact,” Sanders said.

LIHEAP also helps with heating costs other than electric heat for those who do not have electricity, Sanders said. The program also helps with heating costs such as wood, propane, kerosene and coal.

“For example, if they need kerosene, we will do a home visit with them and they can get kerosene that way,” Sanders said. “We have a lot of people that are homeless, and we’ll go and make sure they have a kerosene heater, and we will do a voucher for them to make sure they have kerosene so they can stay warm.”

There is also a separate program available through the CAA that provides assistance with water and wastewater bills, the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).

“It is to help people get back on track with their water and wastewater bills,” Sanders said. “It’s run the same way as LIHEAP, we have a subsidy program and a crisis program.”

Sanders explained the requirements for LIHWAP are the same as LIHEAP.

“We have to have the exact same information for both programs,” Sanders said.

Sanders has been with CAA for approximately 9 years and has worked with LIHEAP for much of that time.

For more information on both the LIHEAP AND LIHWAP, call the Harlan County Community Action Agency at 606-573-5335, ext. 235 or email Sanders at msanders@harlancountycaa.com.