Program assisting with crisis heating needs began assistance on Monday

Published 8:45 am Thursday, January 11, 2018

Although there’s been a bit of unseasonably warm temperatures the last two days, the bitter cold is supposed to return this weekend. And those low temps have caused a crisis heating situation for some residents. 

A federally funded program offers its annual assistance to low-income households on the verge of loosing their sources of heat, and as of Monday — the first day of the annual offering — 15 clients applied in Boyle for a total of $3,518.90.

The program is offered through Blue Grass Community Action Partnership’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and is considered a “crisis component” for those households that qualify for assistance. 

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Even though the BGCAP didn’t open its doors until 8:30 a.m. at its office on the first floor of the city parking garage facing Walnut Street, by 8 a.m. there were already four people waiting outside in the dreary drizzling rain in order apply for emergency heating assistance.

According to Troy Roberts — executive director of BGCAP for the nine-county area including Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln, Mercer, Franklin, Scott, Anderson, Woodford and Jessamine counties — the regular LIHEAP subsidy program ended in December. 

The crisis component of the program will continue through March 31, or until the funds are depleted, Roberts said. 

On Monday afternoon, he said,”All of our counties are slammed,” with people applying emergency heating assistance.

Roberts said that on Monday, Boyle’s first day with the program, 15 clients applied for $3,518.90 of assistance.

According to the LIHEAP fiscal year 2017-2018 fact sheet, there are specific household income guidelines to qualify for heating assistance through the program. To find out if a household qualifies, visit and click on LIHEAP fact sheet. 

Also, to be eligible for crisis assistance the applicant must also be within four days of running out of fuel if wood, coal, propane, fuel oil or kerosene is the heat source; or a disconnect or past due notice has been received from a metered utility company, such as Kentucky Utilities and Atmos.

Tony Hall was first in line in Danville on Monday. He said he depends on firewood to heat his home. Because of the extreme cold days and nights between Christmas and now, his firewood supply was almost gone. 

“It took a lot of wood,” to stay warm, Hall said.

Roberts said in Boyle County, there are 30 certified vendors with some providing multiple fuel sources. 

“Of the 30, nine are wood vendors, six provide kerosene, 11 propane, six electric and one natural gas.”

In Lincoln County, there are 36 approved vendors including six for electric; 12 for kerosene; 16 for propane; one for natural gas; and 10 for wood.

Roberts said, “Although the extreme cold that we have experienced the last few weeks affects the heating cost for all of our low income clients, many will not see the results until their bill arrives weeks later. Now that the weather has gotten milder for a few days and cold temperatures are forecasted to return (this weekend), we expect to see a rise in the number of bulk fuel clients coming in to the offices. These extreme temperatures may have caused many of these people to use more than their normal amounts of fuel and may be within three days of running out placing them in an emergent situation.”

In Lincoln County, 50 people applied for emergency heating assistance for a total of $12,165.51.

Other area first-day applicant figures are: Garrard, 31 applicants, $7,236.12; Mercer, 14 applicants, $2,675.39; Franklin, 52 applicants, $8,860.71; Jessamine, 53 applicants, $9,546,38; Scott, 33 applicants, $7,968.19; and Woodford, 17, $4028.59, for a total of $57,727.69 worth of emergency heating assistance applied for on the first day.

Roberts said each applicant can only receive up to $400 of emergency heating assistance. For example, he said someone could apply for $200 to pay a late utility bill to prevent the heat from being cut off. Then later, if they get in a bad situation again, they will still have the remaining $200 available, unless the agency’s funding runs out.

Last year’s local totals for LIHEAP crisis assistance were: Boyle, 486 applicants, $89,113.03; Lincoln, 1,188 applicants, $251,989.28; Garrard: 568, $117,234.47; and Mercer, 392, $80,710.90

In Danville, Ruth Ann Graves was one of those waiting in line on Monday. 

“It’s helped me a lot. I’d be in trouble if it wasn’t for these people,” she said. “I’m thankful that they’re here.”