State rushing $123.9 million in funds to help low income Texans offset high utility bills
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs announced the release of $123.9 million in energy assistance funds designed to help qualifying households pay their energy bills while providing the consumer education needed to reduce their dependence on future government assistance.
The funds were awarded to 51 cities, counties, and nonprofit organizations through the Department’s Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), a utility assistance program that helps eligible households better manage their energy consumption for a safe, affordable environment.
“Helping low income households with their energy needs is a key component of the Department’s mission of ensuring that all Texans have an affordable, healthy place to call home,” according to Michael Gerber, TDHCA Executive Director. “The cost of heating or cooling a home significantly impacts the household’s ability to afford their home. Our goal is to help these households with their utility bills in the short-term while helping them to achieve self-sufficiency for the long term.”
The Department annually assists more than 68,000 low income Texans through CEAP services, helping low income households meet their immediate energy needs and to encourage consumers to control future energy costs through case management and consumer education. In addition, some households may qualify for the repair or replacement of inefficient heating and cooling equipment.
Gerber explained that services are provided at the local level by 51 contract organizations serving all 254 counties in Texas and target households earning an annual income of less than $26,500 for a family of four. CEAP service providers include Community Action Agencies or other qualifying nonprofit organizations, Councils of Government, and local city or county governments.
Local service providers accept applications for assistance and determine eligibility, placing a priority on households with elderly persons, very young children, persons with disabilities, and the greatest energy burden.
To find the nearest CEAP provider, call toll free at (877) 399-8939 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The toll free number will directly connect you with the CEAP service provider in your county; however, callers must use a land-based phone when dialing the toll free number. Cell phones will not make this automatic connection.
Programs for Human Services covers Chambers, Hardin, Jefferson, Liberty and Orange Counties. It will receive $3,058,947.
About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is the state agency responsible for affordable housing, community services, energy assistance, and colonia housing programs. The Department annually administers more than $400 million through for-profit, non-profit, and local government partnerships to deliver local housing and community-based opportunities and assistance to Texans in need.