Heating bill assistance available for area residents

Heating bill assistance available for area residents

Posted:
"We've been busy from the time we came in the door," said Cecelia Waters of the Knox County Community Action Committee. "We've been busy from the time we came in the door," said Cecelia Waters of the Knox County Community Action Committee.
"It would be a relief knowing that I had a little help to help me get back on my feet and to catch up on this bill," said Joyce Risin, whose husband recently lost his job. "It would be a relief knowing that I had a little help to help me get back on my feet and to catch up on this bill," said Joyce Risin, whose husband recently lost his job.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some East Tennesseans are suffering through a recent cold snap without heat in their home because they can't afford to pay their utility bill.

But help is available through the Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC). They don't want a single family to face these harsh temperatures without heat.

There are two programs through CAC that provide funds to local families so they can pay their heating bill.

This year alone, they've received 14,000 applications for assistance.

"We've been busy from the time we came in the door," said Cecelia Waters of the Knox County Community Action Committee.

The first program is the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, for families below the poverty level. Knox County has helped 8,700 families this year through LIHEAP.

But for those still struggling to make ends meet, but are above the poverty line, there's Project Help. It provides up to $300 in emergency heating assistance.

This time of year, heat is a necessity.

"Large influx of applications in December and January when the weather turns cool, especially for those who are elderly and for homebound individuals and for those families who have been working and who have experienced layoffs," said Waters.

Four hundred families were assisted last year through Project Help. Many families just need help getting over a financial hump.

"It is usually families who have had some uncontrollable circumstances. Most of our families who receive Project Help only receive it once," said Waters.

Joyce Risin of Knoxville is one of those people, applying Tuesday for the first time to help cover her heating bill. Her husband just lost his job.

"Other than rent, that's the highest bill that I have," said Risin.

She is eligible for assistance and is breathing easy now, knowing her heat will be staying on.

"It would be a relief knowing that I had a little help to help me get back on my feet and to catch up on this bill," said Risin.

CAC expects to provide much more heating assistance this year than last year.

If an applicant does not qualify for either program but still needs help, they will be put in contact with other agencies who might be able to help cover the cost.

To apply for assistance, visit the Knox County Community Action Committee website or call them at 865-546-3500.

You can also stop by their office in Knoxville located at 2247 Western Avenue.

They'll make a home visit if someone can't make it to the office to apply.

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