In a few weeks, Community Action of Southern Kentucky will distribute its annual utility bill aid through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Individuals or families living in subsidized housing can receive utility assistance between $34 and $77, and those living in non-subsidized housing can receive checks between $98 and $180, according to Rachel Coulter of Community Action of Southern Kentucky.

“Based on their income, they’re allotted a certain amount,” Coulter said. “The majority of participants are on fixed income or are elderly.”

It’s distributed to households once yearly in order by the first initial of someone’s last name.

With an annual allotment of nearly $500,000, the nonprofit is able to help thousands of households across the 10-county Barren River region.

“We’ve never run out of money for the subsidy program,” Coulter said.

This year, the program will run from Nov. 4 through Dec. 13.

For information on program eligibility and how to apply, visit casoky.org/liheap-subsidy. In January, Community Action of Southern Kentucky will distribute heating assistance through the LIHEAP “crisis” program, which helps households facing utility disconnect notices or low bulk-fuel supplies on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Since 1980, LIHEAP has subsidized the utility bills of tens of millions of low-income Americans. In 2010, the program helped an estimated nine million households.

To help reduce monthly bills, energy experts recommend weatherizing homes. Block out the cold air by sealing cracks or crevices with caulking, utilizing inexpensive plastic insulation kits (basically shrink wrap for your windows), replacing air filters on heating systems monthly and applying weather stripping to all doors.

It also helps to wear warm clothes indoors to avoid unnecessarily cranking the thermostat and increasing your monthly bill.

– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggersdailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

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