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Kentucky families can get financial help to cover air-conditioning costs

LIHEAP’s logo, which spells out the letters in navy blue and contains them within the black outline of a home.
Office of Resilience and Community Services
LIHEAP is a program that provides benefits for households struggling to cover utility bills.

Spring is heating up across Kentucky, and low-income families can get help paying their air-conditioning bill through a seasonal program.

Kentuckians can apply this month for a one-time benefit of up to $200 to help cover their household electric expenses.

The spring subsidy payments are offered through the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Support is available on a first-come, first-serve basis through May 31 or until available funds run out.

Brandon O’Neal, LIHEAP program supervisor with Louisville Metro Government, said people don’t need to be behind on their utility payments to qualify for this assistance.

“It is not required that you are even past due,” he said. “If you're up on top of your bills, we can assist toward that by giving you a potential credit [on your next bill].”

Households across Kentucky are eligible for the current round of LIHEAP assistance if they earn at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Local housing laws do not require landlords to include an air conditioner in houses they rent out, but if they do provide one they’re supposed to make sure it’s in working condition.

For many Kentuckians who do have air-conditioning where they live, keeping it running when the temperature gets hot outside can be a financial hardship.

A recent U.S. Census survey indicates nearly 22% of adults in Kentucky households couldn’t fully pay at least one of their energy bills in the past year.

“A lot of folks are having to manage between, you know, paying their bills or purchasing food, as expensive as it is. And they’re having to decide which one to do. ‘Do I pay my bill or do I purchase food or do I purchase my medication?’” O’Neal said. “But this program helps offset some of those bills and helps folks, you know, make those ends meet.”

Financial assistance offered by LIHEAP is sent directly to a household’s electric provider.

The association Community Action Kentucky administers the state’s LIHEAP program, with offices across the commonwealth accepting applications. People can find the right office to contact for their area on the group’s website or by calling 1-800-456-3452.

How to apply for LIHEAP subsidies in Louisville

Metro Government accepts local residents’ applications via appointment. To sign up for an appointment, people can call 502-991-8391 or schedule one at louisvilleky.cascheduler.com.

O’Neal said the appointment system updates every Thursday with fresh timeslots.

“If anyone is a Jefferson County resident at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, don’t turn yourself down,” O’Neal said. “Schedule an appointment. Come into one of our local offices to see if you can get some assistance.”

When someone sets an appointment to apply for LIHEAP assistance this month, they’ll need to bring certain documents with them, such as:

  • Proof of all household members’ income for April 2024.
  • Proof of U.S. Social Security numbers or Permanent Resident cards for all household members.
  • The household’s latest electric bill. 

O’Neal said the city also can help eligible residents get a 30% discount on their wastewater expenses with Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District. That’s through a separate initiative called the Emergency Wastewater Rate Assistance Program, or EWRAP.

Morgan is LPM's health & environment reporter. Email Morgan at mwatkins@lpm.org.

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