Region 8 group helping some pay utilities and lower the bills

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

At Crowley's Ridge Development Council, they're shuffling through the growing number of applications from people seeking help.

"It's based on the income level and how many people live in the home," said Jackie Burns.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LI-HEAP, assists thousands within their eight county service area.  Manager Jackie Burns expects to see even more after this week.

"It is turning cold, they're out of propane or their utility bill is so high they can't pay it right now," said Burns.

Guidelines to qualify for assistance do change, so Burns says it's worth a phone call to see if you're eligible for assistance.  Not only could you qualify for help paying your heating bill--you may qualify for help lowering that bill.

"We have about 700 people that are approved and on our waiting list," said Kenny Gunn.

Waiting on the home weatherization program.   Kenny Gunn at CRDC says it's actually one of their  most popular programs right now.

"We do a multitude of things that will reduce their utility consumption," said Gunn.

Anything from replacing light bulbs to drafty windows and doors. CRDC officials say they can spend up to 65 hundred dollars per home, with big returns for the homeowner.

"You do things like that, and you're really going to reduce your utilities quick," said Gunn.

Officials say people may qualify for some programs and not others.  Jackie Burns says if they can't help those in need--they will help find someone who can.

"We try to keep in close contact with Salvation Army and other places like that so we can try and work with each other," said Burns.

Sign up for the LI-HEAP starts Monday, January 11th. Sign up will be at 2401 Fox Meadow in Jonesboro.  Burns says even if you do qualify, they have 35 days to process the application so it's not immediate.  She says if you have a bill, go ahead and pay it. If you do qualify, the money will be sent to the utility and be a credit on your utility.

For more information about the Crowley's Ridge Development Council, call 935-8610 or visit them at 2401 Fox Meadow.      

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