Heating assistance program means families won’t have to prioritize needs

Published 10:43 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017

Although the first day of winter is another six weeks away, we won’t have to wait that long to experience winter-like weather.

Already, some areas of Kentucky have had minimal snowfall, temperatures have begun to dip and many have started pulling out their coats and turning up the heat.

Winter is a time of celebration and excitement as we await some of the most beloved holidays, but the warmth of the holiday spirit is not enough to keep our homes at safe, comfortable temperatures.

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Many families struggling to make ends meet must choose between keeping their homes warm or their bellies full, their electric gas bills paid or their prescription medications, their utility payments or Christmas gifts.

Thankfully, there are resources available to make sure these families don’t go without.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides financial assistance to households with home heating costs.

LIHEAP Subsidy typically lasts from November to December and is available to homeowners or renters who are responsible for their heating bills. The program is specifically for low-income or fixed-income households. Qualifying participants can get assistance with electric, gas, kerosene, propane, coal or even wood heating needs. Even better, families in need do not have to wait until a bill is late, unpaid, services have been disconnected or resources are depleted to get help.

Beginning in January, families in crisis have access to the LIHEAP Crisis program that provides assistance from until March 31 or until all funds have been expended. Those would be families within days of running out of fuel, those that have received a disconnect notice or even families that have utilities costs included in their rent and have received an eviction notice for non-payment of rent.

Kentucky River Foothills administers this program in Clark County. Applications from the head of household will be taken from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Clark County Outreach Office, located at 32 Meadow Street through Dec. 15. Call 744-3235 for more information, whether your family qualifies and to learn what date you should turn in applications.

Kentucky winters can be unpredictable from year to year, and it seems weather patterns can change from day to day in the Bluegrass. We experience the full gamut of weather from cold rains, ice and sleet, feet of snow and more.

Families that are able to receive this assistance can rest assured they won’t have to bear the harsh winter cold with no help. More importantly, these families won’t have to choose between keeping warm or buying groceries or life-saving medications.

It is our hope qualifying families will take advantage of this program so they can make sure their essential needs are met in every area.