Low-income energy assistance program begins in the east

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Lower temperatures equal higher heating bills but help is available for those challenged with keeping their homes warm during the cold months.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now taking applications for its Low-Income Energy Assistance Program also known as LIEAP.

The federally-funded project provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills.

Pitt County resident, Joyce Cooper-Brooks says with inflation still high, many people are struggling.

“People don’t have the money, they do the best they can, you know we need the help, we all need the help, especially senior citizens, please help them, but other than that, it’s so many of us need the help, you know, what we do make is not enough and God bless the ones that have kids to feed and this and that,” says Cooper-Brooks.

Economic Services Program Administrator, Bryan Averette says households including a person aged 60 or older or a disabled person receiving services through the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services are eligible to sign up for help now through December 31st.

“We assisted 3,685 households in Pitt County in the LIEAP program, the last LIEAP season,” says Averette.

Averette says everyone else may apply from January 1st through March 31st or until funds run out.

If approved, residents will receive either a $300.00, $ 400.00, or $500.00 payment made directly to their utility provider.

“Oh my God, who wouldn’t want that when you sorta like in a bind at times and just need the help you know, I appreciate it, I love Greenville so much, so you know so I’m all for it,” says Cooper-Brooks.

The amount of money available for people living in Pitt County is about $1.5 million.

Officials say you can apply over the phone, by mail, in-person or online at epass.nc.gov.