Yvette Anderson works a seasonal job. The lull is in the winter.
“I’m on a really tight budget,” she says.
Anderson is one of 2,426 low-income Louisvillians who have already scheduled appointments to receive help with paying for energy bills through the city’s Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP.
The city will help eligible residents – those with household incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line – complete their paperwork and keep the heat on over the next couple months, but not everyone who needs help gets it, officials say.
The program’s crisis phase began this week, and Louisville will distribute around $2.4 million of federal funds on a first-come, first-serve basis until the money dries up, says Debbie Belt, spokeswoman for Louisville’s department of community and revitalization, which administers the program.
“Our funding was depleted around the middle of March [last year]. If we had adequate funding we would be able to keep the program operating through the end of March,” she says.
Around a quarter of Louisville households who are eligible will receive up to $400 that’s applied directly to their bills, Belt says. She adds, not all of those eligible households apply for LIHEAP and she could not immediately give a number for how many households apply and don’t receive any subsidy.
But, they exist, she says.
“We know there are still people seeking services and we do try to refer them to the community ministries and other places that might offer utility assistance,” Belt says.
This year fewer residents signed up for appointments within the first three days than last year. For those like Anderson who has used LIHEAP for the last four years, it’s a no-brainer.
“It’s an easy process as long as you follow the directions,” she says.
To schedule an appointment or to see if you’re LIHEAP eligible, click here.