Grant goes to families with energy costs

Published 11:30 am Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Community Action Committee Inc. of Chambers-Tallapoosa-Coosa counties (CACCTC) was awarded a grant to help low-income families with heating and cooling costs. The organization will receive $917,034.

The grant is given yearly to fund the Low-Income Home Assistance Program. Local organizations, like the CACCTC, take applications from residents who need help with the cost of their home energy. 

“The objective of the program is to help low-income families meet the cost of home energy, which is heating and cooling their residence,” Lesia Woody, Interim Executive Director of the CACCTC. 

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 18 other organizations across the state were awarded the grant. The funds were made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and distributed by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

“People have high energy bills, especially during this time of year. And now a lot of families are struggling, to meet their basic needs…Some people have to choose between paying utilities, medicine and food,” said Woody

The state recently announced the grant recipients, so Woody and her team will begin receiving the grant money in the coming months. The program gets funding in intervals during the winter and summer months when heating and cooling costs are highest.

“We probably won’t receive the grant until the first of the year…once we receive the grant, then we will start taking applications,” she said.

The grant will be shared with applicants from Tallapoosa and Coosa counties as well as Chambers, where the Committee works. Families or individuals can apply for general or crisis assistance. Crisis assistance can be applied for when an energy bill is overdue, heating or cooling is cut off, and other situations that would require immediate aid. 

The funds are targeted at low-income households, especially those that have high energy costs in relation to their income. Low-income households with vulnerable populations, like the elderly, children, or people with disabilities, are also considered. 

The applicant’s household income can not exceed 150% of the federally established poverty level. The 2023 Federal Poverty Level is $14,580 for an individual plus $5,140 for every additional member of the household.

Residents can apply at one of the CACCTC intake locations. Chambers County has two locations: 306 2nd Ave LaFayette; and 1319 Magnolia Rd Lanett. Both are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Home Assistance Program is only one of the Action Committee’s programs. There is a similar program for individuals needing help paying their water bills. Woody said the organization administers the Head Start Program, a free early education program for low-income families, in the counties they cover.