Brunswick Co. to dish out more than $550K in energy assistance - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Brunswick Co. to dish out more than $550K in energy assistance

More than 150 people waited for hours on Monday to apply for federal handouts to help them pay for energy bills. More than 150 people waited for hours on Monday to apply for federal handouts to help them pay for energy bills.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – More than 150 people waited for hours on Monday to apply for federal handouts to help them pay for energy bills.

Temperatures look mild for the time being, but winter is not over.

For some people, keeping up with high energy bills is difficult. That's why officials in Brunswick County are stepping in to help the less fortunate afford to stay warm.

Each year the Federal government gives counties funding for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). The program is designed to help low income families pay for their energy bills. This year, Brunswick County received $555,496 in federal funds for the program.

Initially, the funding was given only to seniors 60 years old or older, and those receiving services from the Division of Adult Services. However, beginning February 1, the remaining funding was made available to anyone who is at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level with $2,200 or less in accessible reserves.

The assistance checks are sent directly to the heat source vendor used by the applicant. Whether an individual or household qualifies for assistance is determined by the size of the family and their collective income. Families heating homes with coal or wood who qualify receive a flat amount of $200; families who qualify and are heating homes with electricity, propane, or kerosene receive an amount determined by their family size and income.

On Monday, more than 150 people lined up outside the Brunswick County Health Department to apply for assistance, including Pamela Rivenbark, who recently lost her job.

"It helps a lot when people don't have a job at the moment," Rivenbark said. "It's a crisis at the moment. So it helps us get on our feet and keep us warm."

The funding is available on a first come, first served basis until March 31, or until all the money has been distributed. Click here for more information: http://bit.ly/1kKR7Us 

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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