ASHE COUNTY — Energy assistance programs will soon be available to help keep Ashe County citizens warm during the upcoming winter months, said Ashe DSS Director Tracie Downer to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners during its Nov. 5 meeting.

“There are two primary programs, one is the CIP — Crisis Intervention Program — and that is available year-round,” Downer said. “Then there are the LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) funds.”

Ashe County residents are eligible for CIP funding if they are in a heating or cooling related emergency, based on household composition and income, with the income limit being 150 percent of the federal poverty level, Downer said.

CIP applications will be accepted at the DSS office in the Ashe County Courthouse starting at 8 a.m. November 19, Downer said, adding that the courthouse does not open to the public until 8 a.m., so anyone showing up early should be prepared to wait outside.

LIEAP is a federally funded program that provides a one-time payment to help eligible households with their heating bills, Downer said. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements based on household composition and income, including an income limit of 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, Downer said. Additionally, Downer said households must be responsible for their own heating bills and cannot have resources over $2,250 to be eligible for LIEAP.

“When applying, applicants will need to know identifying information for all household members including name, date of birth, and social security numbers,” Ashe DSS said in an email. “Applicants will also need to bring verification of income for all household members for the month prior to the month of application and any information about savings accounts, checking accounts, property, stocks, bonds and other assets that anyone in the household may have.”

Between Dec. 3 and 31, LIEAP funds will be available to households with disabled Ashe County citizens receiving a service through the Division of Aging and Adult Services, as well as households containing anyone older than 60, Downer said. Starting Jan. 2, 2019, all applicants and households in Ashe County will be eligible to apply for LIEAP funding until March 31, or until the funds are exhausted, according to Downer.

“Applicants must provide the vendor name and account number for their heating source as well as their electric account number,” Ashe DSS said in an email. “Applications cannot be processed without this information.”

According to Downer, funds are available for both the CIP and LIEAP programs on a first-come basis as long as the money lasts.

“It is a limited allocation — when the funds are gone, they’re gone,” Downer said. “It is a first-come, first-serve kind of thing.”

Applications will be taken at the Ashe County Courthouse in Jefferson, Downer said. To ask questions, or for more information, call Ashe DSS at (336) 846-5644.

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