On Thursday, Nov. 2, Community Action of Southern Kentucky, Inc. (CASK) invited the public to learn more about the agency’s services for low-income individuals at the Adairville Senior Center. CASK is a nonprofit group providing human services to residents in the Barren River area, especially those confronting issues of poverty.

Community Action provides many services including the Head Start Program to senior centers, nutrition programs, emergency food and shelter, scholarships, refugee employment, weatherization and a garden program to name a few. One of the most utilized programs is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LiHeap) program, which helps those struggling financially who need heating sources throughout the winter months.

The significant cost of energy to heat homes leaves many households unable to fully meet heating bills or purchase sufficient bulk fuel to keep their families safe and warm.

Community Action will soon begin its “subsidy” portion of the LiHeap program to eligible households in November.

Each year the non-profit receives funding from both the federal and state governments to assist those in need, however, there is only enough money to spread in the area that Community Action serves. The agency also relies on donations from the private sector. So getting in line now would be beneficial.

The heating assistance program comes in two phases. The first is the subsidy phase. This is when people can come in and receive a benefit if they are income eligible and qualify. The benefit can be anywhere from $34 to $274 on a utility bill depending on income, housing and heating source.

The second is the crisis phase. The crisis phase runs for approximately two to three months beginning in January or whenever the funds run out. This is for people who have either had their heating source turned off because they can’t pay the bill or have received notification it is going to be turned off. It is also for those who are within four days of running out of a fuel source such as propane, kerosene or natural gas and cannot afford to purchase more.

In order to apply for the subsidy phase, you need to bring your to the office Social Security cards for everyone in the home, proof of income for the previous month for everyone in the home who is not currently in high school and a statement from the heating source, such as a billing statement.

To apply for the crisis phase you need to bring in the same information as is required for the subsidy phase, plus a cut-off notice from the heating source. The assistance is based on income, however, the income is based on a formula so those who need help should come in and ask.

Community Action is located on 235 East Fourth Street in Russellville.

“People don’t realize they qualify because they try to add their income up themselves and calculate it to the eligibility table. They won’t know if they don’t come in and we do it by the formula,” said Crystal Bell, Logan County’s Coordinator for Community Action of Southern Kentucky. Bell says the program really helps.

“It helps a lot of people,” said Bell. “People need to remember that every little bit helps.”

The organization is always looking for additional funding as well. There are some cases that might not meet the qualifications for the federal and state guidelines, but they are only barely above it. With donations Community Action can help them. If you would like to help a family heat their home, you can donate online at casoky.org or visit the local office in Russellville.

Over 706 households in Logan County received financial assistance most years from the LIHEAP program.

Eligibility Guidelines

• Live in Kentucky when the application is made and apply in the county of residence; and

• Not have liquid resources in excess of $2,000 or $3,000 if at least one person in the household is 60 years old or disabled, ($4,000 if resources are being used for living expenses due to catastrophic illness).

Applicants must bring the following information to apply:

1. Most recent heating bill or verification from landlord that the heating expenses are included in rent

2. Social Security card or Permanent Resident card (Green Card) for each member of the household.

3. Proof of household (all members) income for the preceding month.

Applicants are encouraged to apply at the location nearest to them in their county of residence.

For additional information, please contact 270-726-2459

LIHEAP is a statewide initiative sponsored by Community Action Kentucky in partnership with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).