SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Chatham County residents who need help covering heating bills can now apply for federal assistance.
The Economic Opportunity Authority (EOA) for Savannah-Chatham County is once again coordinating applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for residents across the county.
The EOA interim director says there is close to $1 million of federal funding available through the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.
“This is hopefully a big help for families,” said Terry Tolbert. “This is not permanent, it’s only designed for a temporary fix, so helpfully this will help at least 2,000 households in this county.”
The organization is allowing 2,000 families to make an appointment Tuesday, though Tolbert says there are likely up to 20,000 families in the county that would be eligible for assistance.
“People are more at home now. Children are not in school and so you probably have a lot more people staying home with their children because of COVID, which means the increase in utility consumption,” explained Tolbert.
To qualify, a family’s annual income must be in accordance with the Fiscal Year 2021 LIHEAP Eligibility Guidelines. Documents needed are as follows:
- Current heating bill (must provide both electric and gas bill unless total electric)
- Social Security Card for each member of the household (Medicaid Card or SSN Printout will not be accepted)
- Picture ID (i.e. Driver’s License, State Photo ID, etc.)
- Proof of Income for the last 30 days for each adult (18 and over) member of the household.
- Proof of income can include but is not limited to 2020 Social Security Award Letter, paycheck stubs, a letter granting public assistance, unemployment benefits for all applicable members of the household.
Due to COVID-19, signatures on documents have been waived. And all applications will be completed over the phone with required documents either faxed and/or dropped off at a designated lockbox at the Economic Opportunity Authority’s office (618 W Anderson St.).
If you are approved for assistance, Tolbert says it can take up to one month to receive a one-time payment of $350-400. He says to continue paying your heating bills until the credit is applied to your account.
For families who do not make the cut this year, he suggests the following:
“Encourage local governments and state legislatures and their federal representatives to consider putting more funds in the program to help people who are in need.”
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