Local families have one less resource available to help them with heating costs.
The Share the Warmth and Crisis Intervention Program (CIP), which in the past had provided emergency assistance to eligible households for heating and cooling-related emergencies, has empty coffers due to budgetary cutbacks.
According to the Salvation Army and the Forsyth County Department of Social Services (DSS), the agencies that jointly administer the program, it is not known if additional funds will be received this year to offer the assistance.
Help is still available through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). Between December and February each year, the Department of Social Services receives additional funds for energy assistance through LIEAP. These funds are only available for a short period of time and eligible households will have a one-time payment applied to their account with their energy provider.
Eligible households must include a member age 60 or older or a member who is disabled and is receiving assistance through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS). If funds remain available after Jan. 31, any other eligible households may apply from Feb. 1 through March 31 or until funds are exhausted. ALL households must meet income and resource eligibility requirements AND must apply for LIEAP funds; there are no longer automatic approvals.
At the direction of the General Assembly, energy payments for eligible households will be made directly to the service provider, such as power, gas or oil companies, at the time the application is approved. Households meeting these requirements can be approved for LIEAP benefits from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31. If approved, payments will be made to utility providers beginning the first week of February 2013.
Applications for the program are available and being accepted at the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope, 1255 N. Trade St. Walk-in hours for LIEAP applications are Monday – Friday 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m..