CCSCT Celebrates LIHEAP Awareness Month
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) provides Community Council of South Central Texas funding to help Texans by assisting with energy costs, especially in times of crisis.
SOUTH CENTRAL, TEXAS: During the most extreme weather periods, energy is a life-critical resource. Unfortunately, many Texans continue to struggle with energy affordability, in some cases putting their lives at risk or forcing people to make choices between things like medicine or food or paying their utility bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides help to Texans by assisting with energy costs for those most vulnerable in our community, especially in times of crisis.
Throughout this ongoing period of uncertainty, the need for Community Action Agencies like Community Council of South Central Texas and programs like LIHEAP are increasingly evident. “LIHEAP is the source of funds for CCSCT to provide those in need with utility assistance, making their home more energy efficient, and now by providing additional funding for utility assistance for those households affected by COVID-19,” states CCSCT Executive Director, Bobby Dieke, “…with Congress increasing funding for LIHEAP in recent years, CCSCT has been able to increase the number of households served. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide these services. CCSCT is Helping People Changing Lives.”
It is estimated that more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the start of this crisis, many of whom are now eligible for LIHEAP. Of that amount, more than 1/4 of those who lost jobs during the COVID-19 crisis reported skipping or needing to skip a utility bill payment. As of January 2020, CCSCT has assisted 8,262 individuals through the LIHEAP program.
Although most CCSCT offices remain closed to the general public, CCSCT has not stopped assisting clients, return and new, with quality service to ensure families do not go without energy assistance. “Many of our customers are elderly and disabled and most struggle each month living on a fixed income,” expresses Community Services Program and Compliance Manager Belinda Lacey, “numerous individuals and families would be forced to choose between purchasing food, prescriptions or paying the utility bill if not for the LIHEAP assistance we provide which in some cases can help ease that financial burden for several months.”
LIHEAP advocates are asking Congress to increase the funding for the program to meet the growing need spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. LIHEAP is a relatively small federal program, but it has a multiplier effect. When struggling families can afford energy, they are more likely to remain in their homes, households are stabilized, and seniors and veterans maintain access to service. If you are interested in learning more about LIHEAP, you may visit www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap.
CCSCT is a non-profit community action agency that empowers vulnerable families and individuals in the greater South Central Texas area to achieve self-sufficiency by eliminating barriers through innovative programs and strong community partnerships. Counties serviced include; Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Wilson, and Zavala. For more information, visit www.ccsct.org or follow us at https://linktr.ee/ccsct_cares .