Winter energy assistance becoming available soon across the Ozarks

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 4:39 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) announced residents could begin submitting applications for help with winter heating bills starting January 9.

LIHEAP is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is designed to lower the energy burden for low-income households. This assistance is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

“It’s a low-income home energy assistance program, helps in the winter time with the fuel sources that help heat the home,” said Crystal Rogers, community services supervisor with Ozarks Opportunities in north Arkansas. “We can pay up to two. We can pay a primary heat resource and a secondary.”

Ozarks Opportunities assists in many different programs and says the need for energy assistance has only grown in recent years.

“We’ve actually been seeing an influx in the past couple of years starting with COVID, and it just seems to grow,” said Rogers. “Last year alone, we helped over 2,900 households in six different counties.”

Rogers says since the start of 2020, Ozarks Opportunities has paid out client/vendor direct payments of more than $3.65 million. That’s help for many families like Shandi Leveritt, who just recently moved to north Arkansas and is still getting settled.

“So I moved here about three months ago, it was not a planned move, and I was really afforded a lot of help from this program, among others,” said Leveritt. “They helped me get into an apartment, helped me start a brand new life from a very difficult one.”

For some, it’s this time of year when assistance can mean the most.

“I actually applied for Christmas credit to actually make Christmas happen this year,’ said Leveritt. “It humbles me, and I’m grateful, and I’m thankful.”

CLICK HERE to see more information on where to get started.

CLICK HERE to find your nearest LIHEAP local organization.

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