BOWLING GREEN, Mo. | A summer utility assistance for Missourians in need received a $15 million boost recently, as Phase 2 of the Show Me Recovery Plan provided additional federal money from the Department of Social Services for service agencies like the Northeast Community Action Corporation.
NECAC covers a 12-county region in Northeast Missouri, and Linda Fritz, county services program director, said the agency has already received requests from people who needed the previous limit of $300 to get their summer electric bills paid partially or in full through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Fritz said the $15 million in funding doubles the previous limit of $300 in LIHEAP funding per eligible household. Individuals who are currently signed up for winter electric and gas or propane assistance at their current address are already eligible for the assistance.
“Lots of people are needing help and a lot of people were laid off due to COVID-19 or lost their jobs, and this is just another way that they've tried to help individuals be successful and keep their homes cool — because there are so many individuals during the summer months that the heat is extremely difficult on,” Fritz said.
According to the DSS, eligible Missourians must be responsible for paying their home cooling costs, have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts or investments, have a monthly household income of $2,400 or less for a family of three or $2,897 or less for a family of four and be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.
Fritz encouraged anyone who moved since applying for previous utility assistance through NECAC or hadn't yet applied to call or stop by their local NECAC Service Center or visit the agency's website at https://necac.org. Applicants may receive an application in-person or by mail.
Fritz said since Monday, June 15, 7% of available funding had been spent, and she said the additional $15 million is “really going to help a lot of people.”