Help with utility bills available for East Texans

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The COVID-19 crisis is creating major financial concerns for many families in rural East Texas.

Individuals may have their work hours reduced or be experiencing lay-offs. Many are already living on a limited income.

Families may qualify for energy assistance through federal LIHEAP funding. Eligibility is based on household income, citizenship and circumstances. The program targets elderly, disabled and the working poor. 

Assistance with electric or gas bills may occur multiple months depending on eligibility. 

Greater East Texas Community Action Program administers the program in Wood County and surrounding counties.

Individuals may apply by mail or online. The website is www.get-cap.org.    Community Action offices are not seeing individuals face to face. However, the on-line and mail-in process is in place and works well.

When the information is mailed or completed online that individual is contacted by telephone and the case is completed. A face-to-face appointment is not required.

According to local Case Manager Shelia Dutton, “There are many who are experiencing reduced hours or layoffs due to COVID-19. We are making a special effort to reach people who have never applied. Community Action is very concerned for people in our area.”      

Karen Swenson, executive director, explained, “Individuals do not have to come back once they qualify. Many qualify for help every month to the end of the year.   We have always targeted elderly and disabled and will continue to do so. 

The application process is the minimum required by guidelines. Proof of income for the previous 30 days and evidence of citizenship is required. For those in financial distress, keeping the lights on is critical.  

For more information, visit the website at www.get-cap.org or call 800-621-5746.  Certain days there may be a high call volume, so multiple attempts may be needed. GETCAP programs are available to all regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.

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