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UCHRA LIHEAP Program for Low-Income Families

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA LIHEAP Program for Low-Income Families

UCHRA’s LIHEAP program working with low-income families to keep utility bills paid.

LIHEAP stands for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

UCHRA assists families struggling to meet financial deadlines for their energy bills by contacting and working with utility vendors directly to get those bills paid. Community Services Director Lanelle Godsey said this program is about providing basic needs to families and helping them free up funds for other necessities.

“I look at this program as helping people in a couple of different ways; one is those health and safety reasons by having the cooling and heating in your home,” Godsey said. “But also, if you qualify and it’s paying those energy bills, that is freeing up funds in the household budget that you can put towards food and other bills.”

Godsey said there are two levels of support LIHEAP provides: the first is regular assistance, which may take up to 90 days to come into effect, and the second is crisis assistance, which works to get the bills paid as quickly as possible. She said the response level is determined by the severity of an applicant’s situation.

To apply, Godsey said people need to go to their local UCHRA Office with documentation including an ID, social security card (or numbers), 12-month energy bill history, proof of income, and a copy of their most recent utility bill. She said this can seem like a lot, but if people need assistance the office will help them through every step of preparation.

“Our county staff will work with you on that,” Godsey said. “Everybody at our county offices is very familiar with our LIHEAP program and they’re there just to assist everyone here in the Upper Cumberland.”

Godsey said they are allotted funds for the program each year and typically have funds left over. She said she encourages everyone to take advantage of these benefits but also wants them to know that they can only receive them one time per program year.

“We always seem to have funds for the LIHEAP program and it is one of the programs that I believe in and think that it does add value for the folks here in the Upper Cumberland,” Godsey said.




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