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Spring utility bill assistance is available for Kentuckians with low incomes

Power lines run from pole to pole in a Louisville neighborhood.
Ryan Van Velzer
/
LPM
Neighborhood powerlines in Louisville, Kentucky.

As spring temperatures go up, there’s help for utility bills through nonprofit offices across Kentucky. People who earn an income near the poverty line — about $3,200 a month for a family of four — are eligible.

Community Action Kentucky is offering Kentucky residents assistance with their spring electricity costs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Assistance is available through June 2 or until the funding runs out. Support is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and appointments should be made through the local office.

Nearly $14 million is available for this program through a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services will manage the funds for the state. Last year’s program helped more than 53,000 households in Kentucky.

For any household up to 130% of the federal poverty level, a Spring Subsidy Cooling Benefit from $38 to $200 can be offered one time during this period. Anyone who makes an appointment needs to bring the social security number or permanent resident card for each household member, proof of the entire household income for the previous month, the previous month’s electricity bill or the lease if electricity is included in the rent, and the account name and number for the main electricity utility.

Appointments at most local offices are offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. People who might need appointments outside of those hours are encouraged to call their local Community Action partner and see what can be done.

The funds are given directly to the utility and work as a credit on an upcoming bill.

Louisville/Jefferson County - Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services

For Jefferson County residents, appointments can be made with the Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services via phone at 502-991-8391 or online at louisvilleky.cascheduler.com.

Brandon O’Neal, LIHEAP Supervisor for the Office of Resilience and Community Services, said the program that normally occurs during the fall and winter serves over 25,000 households a year and this year’s spring program would only add to that number.

“If you are a Jefferson County resident, I would encourage you to view online the income guidelines and if you fit that, absolutely schedule an appointment and see if you can get some assistance,” O’Neal said.

There are seven locations in the Louisville area to have LIHEAP Spring Subsidy appointments. Jefferson County has been allotted about $1.7 million for this program.

Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren Counties - Community Action of Southern Kentucky

For the 10 counties within the Community Action of Southern Kentucky, more than $700,000 has been allocated. To make an appointment in Bowling Green or surrounding counties, residents should call the community services office in their county to schedule.

Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken Counties - West Kentucky Allied Services

For west Kentucky residents, appointments can be made through their local offices with West Kentucky Allied Services. Jenny Rushing, CSBG/Homecare director for West Kentucky Allied Services, said people at local offices will work with area residents who may face challenges to get to an appointment.

“There were some people that were just right at the income level that they were not eligible for, but now they possibly can be eligible for this program because our income limits have increased,” Rushing said.

In previous programs, West Kentucky Allied Services have been able to help more than 2,000 households in their eight counties.

Clark, Estill, Madison and Powell Counties - Kentucky River Foothills Development Council

Residents in the Kentucky River Foothills Development Council can make LIHEAP Spring Subsidy appointments on the phone at 859-544-1713 or online via foothillscap.itfrontdesk.com. There is also information to directly connect with county offices online. Karen Atkins, public information officer with Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, said this program is a one-time thing unlike fall and winter programs with a capped amount people can apply for until they run out.

“We encourage people to apply as quickly as possible,” Atkins said.

She also encouraged area residents to connect with their local Community Action Kentucky offices to see what kind of other programs such as weatherization recommendations they may be able to benefit from. The Kentucky River Foothills Development Council has been allotted more than $450,000 for this program.

Investigative Reporter Lily Burris is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Email Lily at lburris@lpm.org.