Congressman Hank Johnson said Jan. 5 that more than $845 million was released to states over the holidays by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help low-income households with their heating and home energy costs.
Georgia will receive an estimated $60 million this year – $27 million of which was released late December.
In a Nov. 30 statement, Clarkston-based PCA announced that its federal funding to help the poor pay heating bills was depleted in November and it had to shut down LIHEAP services on Dec. 1 and suspend energy application intake.
PCA said that in November, it expended $2.8 million of initial LIHEAP funding, serving 7,484 elderly, disabled and/or homebound clients in its service areas. In 2010, it served 38,000 low-income clients.
The Fulton-Atlanta Community Action Authority, which administers LIHEAP funds in Fulton County, was also affected by the exhaustion of funding in December. It said that about 4,700 senior citizens sought assistance in 2011 and the $1.8 million in federal funds were used up.
LIHEAP assists low-income households, including families with children and seniors, with their heating and cooling bills and with insulating their homes to make them more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs.
Eligible families get a one-time heating assistance payment of $310 to $350 to help with the high cost of winter heating bills.