Low-income grants aid high winter energy bills

Friday, October 23, 2009 at 3:08am
Staff Reports

Middle Tennesseans who will need financial assistance to pay heating bills this winter may get some help through low-income household grants, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.

The state has been awarded a chunk of the $2.698 billion in block grant funds the government awarded across the country for 2010, according to HHS.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday announced the release of $18,023,052 to Tennessee to help low-income citizens with their heating bills during October, November and December of this year. The funds represent grants to states, tribes and territories under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“By releasing this money now, we are helping to provide needed assistance to those individuals in Tennessee who otherwise might not be able to afford heat this winter,” said Sebelius. “This program helps to offset seasonal energy costs for low income families, leaving more of their income to use for other necessities.”

LIHEAP helps eligible families pay the costs of heating and insulating their homes in the winter, and cooling their homes in the summer. The large allocation of LIHEAP funds now is being done to ensure that states have resources available to support their energy assistance programs as the weather turns colder.

“Each year LIHEAP helps more than five million low income households deal with energy costs,” said Carmen R. Nazario, assistant secretary for children and families. “We will continue to work with Tennessee to assure their heating assistance programs work effectively.”

Midstate individuals who may be eligible need to apply for the energy assistance through LIHEAP. Applications, income requirements and other information is available throughthe Metropolitan Action Commission, 1624 5th Ave. North, near MetroCenter (862-8860). Additional information can be found online here.