Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 8, 2013

LIHEAP help still available

By TESA GLASS
tesa.glass@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — — Winter heat and electric bill assistance is still available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

"We've still got quite a bit of money," said Kim Rutherford, LIHEAP coordinator. "We're trying to reach people who have not applied yet."

The funds are not additional monies for the program, but funds that have not been used yet.

"If we can get people to come in who have not had help since September, it would be great," Rutherford said. "We will be taking applications until May."

In Jefferson County, more than 1,600 applications have been taken since the beginning of the winter assistance cycle started in September.

"We've still got enough money for another 2,000 applications," Rutherford said. "We have regular money available and emergency money."

Emergency Assistance is for eligible households that have been disconnected from their utility or who is at below 25 percent on a delivered fuel and can not get delivery on their own.

Eligibility is based on gross income for the 30 days prior to the application for assistance. A one person household is eligible that makes $1,396 or less; a two person household with $1,891 or less; three person households with $2,386 or less; and four person households with $2,881 or less.

"If they are eligible, we want them to come in and get the help," Rutherford said. "I know there are more people out there who are struggling."

Rutherford said some people are embarrassed to ask for help, but shouldn't be.

"No one will know about it, and there is no shame in getting help," Rutherford said. "Some people think, 'well, there's someone out there who needs it worse than me,' but there is enough money to help. ... The average amount of help to a household is $200 to $800."

To set up an appointment to fill out an application or for additional information, call 937-3581 and speak to someone in the LIHEAP Department.