“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) has received an additional $1,270,760 in energy assistance funding to serve low and moderate income consumers in the Upper Cumberland region announced,” Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director.
The Tennessee Department of Human Services has informed UCHRA that funding for its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been increased to $5,081,257 for the year ending June 30, 2010, a 74% increase over the previous year’s funding. “The increased LIHEAP funds will allow UCHRA to serve in excess of 14,000 households in the 14-county area,” remarked Bennett.
In Cannon County, 482 households have received assistance totaling $156,511. “We are very pleased that with these funds every eligible household that has applied for LIHEAP assistance will be served,” stated Stephen Bilbrey, Pickett County Executive and UCHRA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “I encourage individuals who meet program guidelines to apply for funding this year, even if they have not previously been served,” Bilbrey continued.
During the current year the Federal government has increased the required level of poverty from 125% to 200% for households to be eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance. “Under these guidelines, for example, a household of 4 persons may have an annual income up to $44,100 and qualify,” explained County Executive Mike Gannon. The range of payments is $300 - $375, depending upon priority points, which are paid directly to the provider of the eligible household’s primary energy source (i.e. electric, natural gas, propane, coal, wood, or kerosene).
The increase in funds represents a successful effort on the part of the UCHRA Board and staff to provide more LIHEAP program funds for qualifying families. “This infusion of additional funds has come at the best possible time to assist residents in the Upper Cumberland,” remarked Michael Nesbitt, Smith County Mayor and Chairman of the Aging and Community Services Committee.
All UCHRA county offices are accepting LIHEAP applications between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cannon County residents may apply at the Cannon County office located at 301 West Main Street, Adams Memorial Building, Room 302 in Woodbury. For more information call 615-563-2916.