June 29, 2012
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743
State housing agency: $97 million ready to ease energy cost burden for low-income Texans
(AUSTIN) — As temperatures and utility bills both continue to rise across the state, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) reminds low-income residents that $97 million is available to help ease the burden of high energy costs that come with Texas’ hot summer months.
Help is available through a network of 43 city, county, and nonprofit agencies serving all 254 counties in the state through TDHCA’s Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). The program helps income eligible households pay a portion of their utility bills while learning how to better manage their energy consumption for a healthy, affordable home environment.
According to TDHCA Executive Director Tim Irvine, CEAP plays a critical role in the Department’s mission of promoting affordable housing, given that energy costs consume a much greater percentage of a low-income household’s annual income than that of the average Texas household.
“The cost of cooling a home absolutely can impact a family’s ability to afford their home,” Irvine said. “This program helps many of the state’s most vulnerable residents, especially elderly persons and persons with disabilities, meet their utility costs and avoid a potential health or financial crisis. Just as important, it can help them achieve greater self-sufficiency in the long term.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the funding source for CEAP through its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. TDHCA contracts with its network of local government and nonprofit agencies to accept applications for assistance, determine eligibility, and provide direct service to their low-income clients at the local level.
The program assists households at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines which, for a family of four, equals an annual income of no more than $28,813.
To find the nearest CEAP provider, call toll free at (877) 399-8939 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Callers will automatically be connected with the CEAP provider serving their county.
However, callers must use a land-based phone when dialing the toll free number; cell phones will not make this automatic connection. Cell phone users should dial 211 to be connected with their local utility assistance provider.
About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers a number of state and federal programs through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to strengthen communities through affordable housing development, homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services for Texans in need.
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