EBLEN HEATING ASSISTANCE GROWS AS RECORD COLD CONTINUES

This past week certainly made it evident to all of us living in the mountains of western North Carolina that winter is going to be with us for a while.

With the drop in temperatures and cold winds filling our days, the Waddell Client Service Center of Eblen Charities has again seen an increased number of families calling upon us to help them keep warm in these weeks of winter.
Since the first week in November, the staff and volunteers at Eblen have been working tirelessly assisting thousands of children, adults, and families fend off the cold and to ensure that they have heat in their homes and that power stays on during the most difficult time of the year.

Going into the fourth month of energy assistance with a record number of families assisted and combining energy funds from other sources, Eblen Charities is continuing to reach out to those in need thanks to the partnership with Buncombe County Health and Human Services.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) for Buncombe County.

LIEAP is a Federally-funded program that provides payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills. Funds from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program provide one payment a year for homes with a primary heating source that is fuel oil, kerosene, as well as electricity, natural gas, wood, or coal.

As we began the program on December 1st, it was open only to households containing a member who was 60 years old or older or having someone disabled and receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services and who were at least 130% of the poverty level (please see chart on page 6).

Beginning January 2nd, we were able to open the program to any and all homes who are at least 130% of the poverty level. By being able to do this, Eblen Charities is able to continue to reach out to families who may have already had assistance or need help later in the winter to stay warm until the warm weather of spring arrives.

Families who may have received assistance through other heating and utility assistance programs may be eligible for the LIEAP funds giving these hard working and deserving families a little extra breathing room as the cold winter arrives.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program is open to all households at 130% of poverty level (example: single member household $1,307, family of two $1,759, family of four $2,665 and provides a one-time vendor payment of $200, $300, or $400 based on household size and income for homes that use electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, or kerosene. Families using wood or coal
will be eligible to receive $200 regardless of family size.

“LIEAP could not have come at a better time for our clients. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to again partner with Buncombe County Health and Human Services with LIEAP and help provide additional assistance to help so many of our families keep warm this winter,” tells Bill Murdock, Executive Director of Eblen Charities. “Thanks to them, this year we have more funds than ever before with the LIEAP program to continue to reach out and keep those who are most susceptible to the cold keep warm. Thanks to Buncombe County Health and Human Services allowing us to add the Low Income Energy Assistance Program to our heating outreach, a great many more families who seek help through Eblen will not be left out in the cold. Since this past December we have assisted 1,200 families more this year for heating assistance than last year during the same time period.

Funding for utility and heating assistance comes from a number of sources. In addition to the money Eblen Charities raises through events and donations, we receive federal funds through our partnership with Buncombe County Health and Human Services’ Crisis Intervention Program (CIP), Emergency Assistance Program, the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and Duke Energy’s Energy Neighbors Program.

We are honored to be part of a partnership with the Buncombe County Commissioners and the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services which allows us to touch so many children, adults, and families and help them to keep warm during these cold days and nights. Our thanks once again to County Manager Mandy Stone, Phillip Hardin, Tracie Franklin, and Jim Holland of BCHHS.

Our gratitude also to all who have joined us in reaching out to keep our families warm through our heating programs. Individuals, families, and companies have been tremendously generous in sending donations ranging from a few dollars to a thousand or more to help families who find themselves in times of need keep warm. If you would like to join us in helping the families we serve keep warm contact Bill Murdock at Eblen Charities at 242-2848 or via email at [email protected]

How to Apply:

Individuals and families are encouraged to apply at the Eblen Charities Waddell Client Service Center at 50 Westgate Parkway in the Westgate Shopping Center anytime from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Individuals interested in applying for LIEAP are not required to have a Photo ID or Social Security Card.  As part of the application process we will need to verify any employment and have a valid social security number, when available for each household member. If unable to apply in person, phone applications may be taken by calling 828-255-3066. The completed application will be mailed for signature along with instructions regarding other documents needed to process application.

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