Funds available for utility assistance

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced up to $38 million available to local governments to help Kentuckians with overdue utility bills.

“Even with our victory over COVID-19 coming into sight, times are still tough for our families,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are grateful to be able to provide these funds, because they will ensure many Kentuckians won’t have to make the impossible choice between feeding their family and keeping the lights on.”

Lewis County Judge Executive Jimmy Lykins said Licking Valley CAP will serve as the local agen to process the requests and urges residents to apply soon for assistance.

The Department for Local Government (DLG) will administer the funding from the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response (CDBG-CV) program established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“We want to get this assistance out the door as quickly as possible, because protecting Kentuckians is our number one priority,” said DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene. “We encourage local governments to submit applications as quickly as possible.”

To apply, local governments must submit an application to DLG. If approved, local governments must then partner with a community action agency to assist with funding administration. To simplify the process and fulfill that need, DLG has partnered with Kentucky’s 15 Area Development Districts (ADD) to assist units of local government, local nonprofit community service providers and eligible Kentuckians with their applications and administering funds.

Households are eligible for up to $250 per month for six consecutive months if:

• They live in a city or county approved for funding;

• Have been financially impacted by COVID-19;

• Are struggling to pay water, sewer, electric, gas or other heating and cooling bills; and

• Have received notice for disconnect between January 21, 2020, and present day and/or up to two months following.

• Once a household’s application is approved, the local nonprofit community service provider will transfer funds directly to a utility provider on their behalf.

This aid follows a previous fund set up by Gov. Beshear. In October 2020, the Governor created the Team Kentucky Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund by dedicating $15 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding. This fund is estimated to have helped over 63,000 individuals in more than 26,000 households through December of last year.

A third round of utility relief is forthcoming as Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package, H.R. 133 (“the Consolidated Appropriations Act”), which was signed into law Dec. 27, 2020. That package is expected to provide nearly $297 million to Kentuckians to protect tenants from evictions and utility disconnections, through the Team Kentucky Healthy at Home Eviction and Utility Relief Fund. More information on this program will be coming within the next few weeks.

Note: The Lewis County Herald has removed the paywall on coverage of COVID-19 related stories, providing critical information to our readers.

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