GRAY -- KCEOC Community Action Partnership (CAP) has announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will now be taking applications for an added spring open enrollment period for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP).
KCEOC's 2020 LIHEAP Spring Subsidy Program is designed to provide assistance specifically to Knox County residents by alleviating high energy costs for low-income families.
Angie May, an Emergency Service Associate with KCEOC who works with the partnership's LIHEAP program, says this particular round of LIHEAP is different from LIHEAP and LIHEAP Crisis programs in the past.
"A lot of people think that this program is an extension of our crisis program," May said.
May explained that during previous LIHEAP programs, one could reach a limit on the amount of assistance they could receive from KCEOC, and as a result, that person would not be eligible for further assistance during the partnership's LIHEAP Crisis program. However, this is not the case with this particular LIHEAP program, meaning those who have received their max subsidies earlier this year are still eligible for assistance.
Other changes to this particular program include participants not needing to provide a disconnect notice or a past-due bill to receive assistance. May said that if one has already paid their heating bill for the current month, they too could still be eligible for LIHEAP assistance.
The income eligibility requirements to qualify for assistance has been increased to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This increase will allow for more families to qualify for heating subsidies.
Those wishing to apply for LIHEAP assistance will need to bring a proof of the Social Security Number or Permanent Resident card for each member of their household. They will also need to provide proof of every member of the household's income from the preceding month.
To be eligible, one must also bring their most current heating bill, a statement from one's landlord stating that heating expenses are included in one's rent, or a statement from a utility company if one participates in a pre-pay electric program.
KCEOC asks that those looking for assistance also have their account number and the name on the account for main heating fuel sources and electric bills.
May confirmed that this particular LIHEAP program would also accept applications for those who heat their homes using coal, wood, or kerosene as well, not just electric heating.
May said that KCEOC has been accepting LIHEAP applications since May 1 and that the program would continue until June 30, or until the program exhausted all of its available funds, whichever comes first.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, KCEOC is offering a curbside service for those who make an appointment.
"When we make the appointment, we offer that to them," May said. "So, if they don't want to even come into the building, we make them an appointment, and we have signs posted out in the parking lot to call us when they arrive for their appointment. Then we will provide a worker to go out and get their paperwork and bring it in to process, and then take it back out for them to sign. We are providing that to them, they know that upfront. So if they don't feel comfortable coming in, then they can do that."
May said so far curbside appointments have worked out well for all those involved.
"People really like that, because I mean a lot of people don't want to come into a crowded place," she said. "They're so used to how it used to be where we'd have a big crowd."
To schedule an appointment for KCEOC's 2020 LIHEAP Spring Subsidy Program, call 606-595-8062 or 606-546-3152 extension 305.