The funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program were exhausted this year earlier than usual, following high demand and steps taken by the Office of Resilience and Community Services (RCS) to make requesting easier for qualified residents.
This year, an average of $225 were provided to more than 9,000 Louisville households during the LIHEAP Crisis phase, which pays late heating bills of low-income residents directly to service providers. In total, RCS distributed over $2.5 million in LIHEAP Crisis funds to low-income Louisville residents.
The LIHEAP Crisis phase closed the afternoon of Wednesday, March 7.
The 2018 LIHEAP Crisis component began on Jan. 8 and operated on a first come, first serve basis. In recent years, the program extended through the end of March to help low-income residents during the coldest months. The program is designed particularly to assist those who pay a high proportion of their household income toward home energy.
To ease the process for residents to request LIHEAP assistance, the Office of Resilience and Community Services in 2016 launched an automated telephone and online system for residents to make required in-person appointments for LIHEAP assistance requestors. In previous years, LIHEAP assistance requestors were required to make two trips to Community Services staff to apply for LIHEAP assistance – first to sign up for appointments and later to complete their applications. Also in 2016, LIHEAP locations were expanded from three to six sites, including four Neighborhood Place locations.
Residents who are currently in need of utility assistance are encouraged to call their local Community Ministry or Neighborhood Place. Call Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 help referral service or MetroCall 311 to locate the nearest site.
Residents who are currently disconnected from services with their utility provider can walk into any of the six LIHEAP locations now through March 16, Monday through Thursday, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. and from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. and will be seen upon availability. No LIHEAP funding will be allocated for these disconnected households, but staff will contact LG&E to see if clients are eligible for payment arrangements.
Starting March 19 through March 30, those individuals who have been disconnected can walk into one of these three LIHEAP locations: Newburg Community Center, South Central Neighborhood Place and Ujima Neighborhood Place. The same hours and criteria listed above apply including no LIHEAP funding will be allocated at this time.
The six LIHEAP locations are as follows:
“LIHEAP is a critical program for thousands of Louisville families”, said Gena Redmon, director of Resilience and Community Services. “We’re proud to be able to streamline the process of applying for this vital assistance and we’ll continue to look for more ways to streamline Metro Government processes so we can serve citizens with even greater efficiency.”
LIHEAP is a seasonal program which is anticipated to reopen in the fall, pending federal funding. Stay tuned to https://louisvilleky.gov/government/resilience-and-community-services/low-income-home-energy-assistance-program-liheap for future updates.