Get Help with Heating Bills, Weatherizing Your Home and Rental Payments

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By LaTINA EMERSON, Weekly Deal Finder

As inflation continues to negatively impact our wallets, many people are having challenges paying for household bills and other living expenses. To help families with these growing costs, several state and federal programs are assisting with home heating bills, weatherizing homes against cold weather and making rental payments. Learn more: 

LIHEAP  

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that helps consumers with their home energy bills and weatherizing their homes against cold weather. For households that meet certain income requirements, LIHEAP provides financial assistance with energy bill payments to offset the costs of home energy, gas or propane bills.

LIHEAP also offers support for weatherization or minor energy-related home repairs. The program’s goal is to reduce the risk of health and safety problems such as illness, fire or disconnection. 

Home Energy Bills

Seniors who are 65 and older can start applying for home energy bill assistance on Nov. 1. Eligible individuals of all ages can apply on Dec. 1. 

All applicants must schedule an appointment on Community Action for Improvement Inc.’s website at https://cafi.timetap.com. Appointments are only available online.

Community Action for Improvement Inc. represents a five-county service area, which includes Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether and Troup counties. When making an appointment, applicants must select their county of residence. Each county has its own budget allocated by the state of Georgia, so if all appointment slots for your county are full, keep checking the application portal for availability.

To qualify, applicants must meet basic requirements: 1) be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted immigrant, 2) have a total gross annual household income at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income Guidelines for Georgia and 3) be responsible for paying the cost of energy bills for the household or be able to verify an energy burden.

Applicants must bring the following documents to their appointment: proof of income for all household members for the past 30 days, proof of Social Security number for all household members, the most recent gas and electric bill for the household and proof of U.S. citizenship or legal immigrant status.

In addition, the applicant’s household energy supplier must be a registered vendor for the LIHEAP program with the Department of Human Services. All assistance payments are applied directly to the energy account through the household energy supplier. Applicants are served on a first-come, first served basis until funding runs out.

Home Weatherization

LIHEAP’s Home Weatherization Program helps families to reduce their home energy bills by making homes more energy efficient. The program makes direct household repairs and energy efficient upgrades that increase the energy efficiency of homes. 

Applications for the home weatherization program are accepted on a rolling basis. To apply and find out eligibility requirements, contact Community Action for Improvement at 706-884-2651.

Georgia Rental Assistance

Georgia renters who have fallen behind on rent payments as of March 13, 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, may qualify for assistance from the Georgia Rental Assistance Program. This program can provide up to 18 months of rental and utility assistance, paid directly to participating landlords and service providers on behalf of tenants.

The state of Georgia received funding from the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide relief to individuals, families and landlords whose finances were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds can be used for rental and utility payments and other related expenses. The program is run by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. 

To be eligible, applicants must qualify for unemployment or have experienced a financial hardship since March 13, 2020, demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability and have household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income. 

To apply, tenants are required to have identification (state ID or passport); income documents for every adult (age 18 and older) in the household; a past due rent notice or utility bills, provider and account number; copy of lease; and attest to unemployment eligibility or documents showing a reduction in income, significant costs or financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.

For more information, visit https://www.georgiarentalassistance.ga.gov.

Fraud Alert: If a person or company requests a fee for the Georgia Rental Assistance Program application or loan, please report this fraudulent activity to the program.

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