Lower Columbia Community Action Program (CAP) has energy assistance funds available for eligible households in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.
Since December, 967 households have been served, with an average assistance of $370 per household, according to Roxana Shelton, CAP’s Energy Assistance Coordinator.
Shelton estimates that an additional 500 households can still be assisted.
“There are approximately 700 people on the waiting list, and we are trying to contact them,” said Shelton. However, staff have not been able to reach some people because their phone numbers have changed or been disconnected.
She asks that people who are on the waiting list and haven’t been contacted either come into CAP during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F) at 1526 Commerce Ave., in Longview, or call 360-425-3430 ext 231. Wahkiakum residents call 800-383-2101 ext 231.
Shelton said that people who did not sign up for energy assistance in November may still apply as well.
To be eligible for energy assistance, a household’s income must be at or below $125% federal poverty level guidelines. For example, one person could earn a monthly income after taxes of $1,164, two people could earn $1,576, three people could earn $1,989.
To receive assistance, people are now required to attend a two-hour class on how to conserve energy in their homes and stretch their utilities budgets before their energy appointment.
For the 2012-13 winter season, CAP received $534,379 to distribute for energy assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally funded program that provides money to help low income households make home heating more affordable during the winter months.
Payment is made directly to the heating vendors, not to individuals themselves.
In the 2011-12 winter season, CAP distributed $549,528 to assist 1,365 households, or 3,308 people, of whom more than 1,000 were children.
For questions, people can call CAP Energy & Housing at 360-425-3430 (800-383-2101) ext 231.