Podcast: Community Action Offers Help with Rising Home Heating Costs This Winter

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With cooler weather coming—and energy costs on the rise—more homeowners are expected to seek home heating help this season.

Community Action CEO Kerri Perry, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning show, wants to help. She encourages households—even those who think they are not eligible—to submit applications to the Low Income Heating Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP.

“There is certainly an eligibility requirement, but don’t presume that you don’t qualify. It’s a really a smart idea to reach out, speak to one of my intake workers and determine whether you qualify for the LIHEAP program, which provides financial assistance toward your heating bills. Or, if you may also qualify also for a reduced rate, and the reduced rate will allow you to have your heating and utility bills lowered throughout the year,” she says.

Perry says those applying for assistance should call Community Action in Haverhill.

“I think the heating bills are really front of mind right now. You know, whether you’re at the gas pump, watching the news, you’re seeing the extraordinary increases that going to face homeowners this year. We are all going to feel it, and it’s really important that people are proactive about it, and not reactive. We get heating emergency calls throughout the year, but we can prevent those. We can connect community members to this service, and fill up oil tanks now and connect people to this service,”she adds.

Perry says the intake workers are receiving hundreds of phone calls a day, and people seeking assistance should leave a message and they will receive a call back as soon as possible.

“Those who have had LIHEAP, the low-income heating assistance, in the past can simply recertify, and those who are new to the program will have to present a fair amount of documents, but just work with your intake person because they can help you navigate that stream. It feels like it’s really document intensive. It feels like there’s a lot to it. The federal government requires that we confirm that everyone is eligible, and we have to be good stewards of the program, but it really is an important program. It’s going to be a lifeline for many this season,” Perry says.

People wishing to submit new applications to Community Action’s LIHEAP are advised to call 978-373-1971, ext. 218, and those looking for updates on their applications may call 978-374-7660, seven-days-a-week, 24 hours-a-day. There’s also more at CommunityActionInc.org.

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