Community service agencies are urging those who may have difficulty paying for heat bills this winter to apply early for assistance. This assistance is particularly for low-income, elderly and disabled individuals or families with small children, according to a news release by the local Tallatoona Economic Opportunity Authority. Applications will be accepted through March 15, 2001, or until funds are exhausted. Those interested should contact the local Human Resource Development Center of the TEOA at 770-748-1675. The center is located on East Avenue. The state Department of Human Resources will help pay heating costs for gas, electricity, wood, coal, or kerosene, says Linda B. Leachman, executive director. One-time payments will be made primarily by checks to home energy suppliers on behalf of eligible households. Under certain conditions, direct payment will be made to eligible households. The one-time payments are expected to average $134. Benefits for 2001 will be the same as 2000. All eligible households must be responsible for their home heating costs, at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines and be a U.S. citizen or legal alien. The total income of all household members is counted to determine income eligibility. When applying for assistance, persons must bring proof of income for all household members who have had income in the last 30 days. This can be a paycheck stub, award letter regarding public assistance, social security, and/or unemployment benefits.
Applicants must also bring the social security number for each person in the household who is 18 years or older and the most recent home heating bill. Households whose home heating energy costs are included in the rental payment are ineligible for assistance.