LIHEAP program offering help for hefty winter bills

With bitter cold winter weather here, getting  a utility cut-off letter is a terrifying reality for many Knox County families. Thankfully, KCEOC Community Action Partnership offers some relief.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 11, KCEOC will offer its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). A crisis program, LIHEAP provides assistance for households in danger of losing their heating source.

To sign up, a household must be in a crisis situation with a January disconnect notice, be within four days of running out of bulk or solid fuel (i.e. wood, coal, or kerosene) or have five percent or less of propane. Assistance will be provided through payments made directly to the vendor.

“We care about the welfare of the people that we serve,” said Shawn Bingham, KCEOC Emergency Service Manager. “We want to help keep them warm and comfortable.”

For bulk or solid fuel sources, a receipt of the last purchase must be provided for the application process. All applicants, regardless of fuel source, must also bring their current electric bill along with them. Applicants must also bring proof of income for the previous month. Bank statements and SNAP benefits letters do not qualify as proof of income.

The LIHEAP programs are a tried and true source of relief. Last year, over $700,000 in aid was given to over 4,000 Knox County applicants.

“We get a lot of ‘thank-you’s’, believe it or not,” said Angie May, KCEOC Emergency Services Associate. “A lot of people say they don’t know what they would have done without this program and worried about how to keep their children warm through the winter months.”

Applications cannot be processed until 8 a.m., but the facility opens its doors at 6 a.m. to better accommodate the applicants. For more information, call KCEOC at 546-3152 Ext. 303 or 305.