- Lani Hansen
UKB LIHEAP now taking applications
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT EDITOR, GIDUWA CHEROKEE NEWS
TAHLEQUAH – Beginning April 1, the Health and Human Services Department at the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians will be accepting applications for assistance with summer cooling costs through its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
LIHEAP is a federal program designed specifically to assist low income families with relief from heating and cooling costs all year.
Summer LIHEAP runs April 1 through Sept. 20 and assist households with electric bills and air conditioning window units.
Winter LIHEAP runs from Oct. 1 to March 31 and will pay costs towards the main heating source for a household, whether it is natural gas, electric, propane or wood.
Program eligibility is based upon the 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines and requires applicants to provide income verification from each member of their household. Assistance is for the entire household and not separate individuals.
Income guidelines are 60 percent of the state median income.
For households that exceed the income guidelines, the tribe has separate American Relief Plan Act funds that may assist with costs.
HHS Director Ronny Livers said Summer LIHEAP funds will be used to help tribal members with electrical bills associated with cooling their homes.
The tribe will pay up to $450 for an electrical bill in a six-month period for a household of one to three individuals. For households of four or more, LIHEAP funds can assist with up to $500 towards electrical bills in a six-month period.
Per UKB resolution 18- UKB-101, tribal members are required to notify the HHS department at a minimum of three days before any service cutoff or risk a suspension in utilities due to late submission of the application.
LIHEAP will also assist with providing a limited amount of air conditioning units to tribal members, with elders 55 and older served first.
The units must be picked up from the UKB tribal offices unless members make arrangements with their district representative for another method of delivery.
Tribal members can acquire applications from their district representative, directly through HHS or by visiting www.ukb-nsn.gov/human-services for a downloadable “Services Assistance” application.
The application can be returned to the UKB Federal Programs Building, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 918-414-4030.