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Local organization helps with utility costs during harsh weather

LANETT — A recent grant for Gov. Kay Ivey’s office will make it easier for the Chambers – Tallapoosa – Coosa Community Action Committee to help residents stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

The grant from Ivey’s office was for $1.05 million, and Community Action Committee Executive Director David Boleware said all the funds go directly to the organization’s low-income energy assistance program.

The program helps those who meet income requirements pay their utility bills in the winter and summer. There are also crisis situations where the organization can step in when a person is facing a dangerous situation.

In Chambers County from Oct. 31, 2018, through May 19, Boleware said they allocated $233,343 to Chambers County residents, helping 674 people in the process.

In crisis situations, meaning where a resident didn’t have any propane, and the weather reached dangerous levels, the organization allocated $4,813.95 for 17 people.

The summer program, which runs from June 1 through Oct. 31, helped 586 clients in 2018. Boleware said the organization spent $176,081.

In crisis situations during the summer, such as if electricity is about to be shut off by the utility company and the power is needed for health reasons, Boleware said the Community Action Committee spent $3,259.18 for 11 clients.

To be eligible for the program, Boleware said there are income thresholds. Each level is determined by how much income is in the household, not just the person applying.

To receive assistance for one person, the max income is $1,517 a month. For two people in a household, it’s $2,057; for three people, it’s $2,597 and when it’s four people, it’s $3,137.

For each additional person after four, Boleware said it’s $540 a month per person. All income is based on the previous month, Boleware said.

When a person goes to an office to apply, they will need proof of income for everybody in the household, social security cards for all household members, a picture ID for the person applying and the power bill must be in the name of the person applying or a spouse.

If a person doesn’t have an income, Boleware said they would need a notarized statement from a non-family member confirming the non-existence of income. 

The amount of income determines the amount of assistance. Boleware said the more income in the home, the less money that will be allocated for assistance for utility costs.

In crisis situations, Boleware said it’s possible the organization can step in and pay the utility bill completely.

He said all the money for assistance is allocated directly to the utility company in the client’s name. 

The Community Action Committee has two locations in Chambers County. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Boleware said assistance is available at 306 2nd Ave. NW in LaFayette. This office can be reached at (334) 864-8425.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there will be people to help at the Bowen East Head Start Center, located 1319 Magnolia Road in Lanett. This office can be reached at (334) 576-7254.

Boleware said the offices are open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.