Agencies have programs to help with utility bills

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Community Action Council is operating multiple programs to assist eligible households residing in the counties of Bourbon, Lexington-Fayette, Harrison and Nicholas with their household bills, including electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities. The Council’s staff will conduct one comprehensive intake application with each applicant or household to determine their need and eligibility for all available services.

On October 19, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order designating $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund. Community Action Agencies across Kentucky are now accepting applications for the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund Program through December 11, 2020 or until funds are depleted.  

 

Interested households should contact their local Community Action Outreach Office on how to apply. To locate their local office, individuals can call 800-456-3452 or visit www.capky.org. 

 

The fund can assist households with income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level that have suffered financially due to COVID-19, covering up to $500 for past-due water or wastewater bills. For a limited number of households, the fund can pay up to $200 for past-due electric or natural gas bills, up to two times. 

 

All applicants will be required to supply the following documentation at time of application: 

·               Most current utility bill 

·               Proof of arrearage, payment plan, or disconnect notice for utilities 

·               Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household 

·               Proof of all household’s (all members) income from the preceding month 

 

For everyone’s safety, Community Action Agencies may provide special accommodations, adjust locations and times, and may ask that applicants follow safety protocols. Because these may change and vary between counties, applicants are encouraged to contact their local Community Action office for more information.   

 

Community Action Kentucky administers Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. More information about Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund, including contact information for all local Community Action agencies and fact sheet can be found at the Community Action Kentucky website at www.CAPKY.org 

 

“The financial impacts of the global pandemic have been unrelenting, but we want everyone to know that Community Action Council has resources right now that are available to help,” said Sharon Price, executive director of the Council. 

 

Last week the Council began accepting applications for the Subsidy Component of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program, which helps eligible households offset the costs of their primary heating source, including electric, natural gas and bulk fuel. Income eligibility for this program is 150% of the Federal Poverty Level, and the one-time benefits are paid directly to the utility vendor. This program will operate through December 11, 2020, or until funds are depleted.

The Council also recently began operating the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund, part of a statewide initiative utilizing Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to provide utility assistance for households who have experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Benefits are available for electric/natural gas services and water/wastewater services and will be paid directly to the utility vendor. Households can apply for and receive assistance for either or both components, and are eligible for this program if their household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and they have a past-due, disconnect notice, or are on a payment plan from a utility company. Applicants must also demonstrate an impact from the global pandemic, such as a job loss, reduction in employment hours or wages, additional household expenses, or other form of impact identified by the applicant. This program will run simultaneously with LIHEAP.

Currently, Community Action Council’s centers are closed to the public and requests for utility assistance are being handled by phone and with limited in-person contact. Community members must schedule an appointment for assistance and can do so in one of two ways: online, at www.commaction.itfrontdesk.com, or by phone at 859-300-6960. The Council’s staff will call community members at least one day before their scheduled appointment to discuss household need and each service. For a complete listing of those documents, and to schedule an appointment for assistance, visit commaction.itfrontdesk.com.

 

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