The State of Tennessee Department of Human Services recently announced a policy change regarding the application process for families and individuals applying for energy assistance through LIHEAP and for emergency assistance through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).
For both programs the current contract year, which began July 1, 2010 and would normally end June 30, 2011, will be extended an additional three months to end September 30, 2011. Clients who were served during the July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 period will not be eligible to apply again until October 1, 2011.
During the three-month period from August 1 - September 30, applications will be accepted only from eligible households that were not served during the previous 12-month period.
According to the Department of Human Services, the reason for the change is that the federal fiscal year is October 1 - September 30, and funds for these programs are appropriated for that period. DHS feels that planning and coordination of both LIHEAP and CSBG will be improved by aligning the LIHEAP and CSBG funding with the federal fiscal year. The programs have operated on the state fiscal year schedule (July through June) since the early 1980’s.
“It is especially important that we get the word out about the new eligibility dates to the community, especially to our elderly and disabled customers that rely on us for energy assistance annually during the early summer months,” said Cynthia Croom, Executive Director of Metro Action, which administers LIHEAP for Nashville. Typically, long lines appear July 1 at the Metro Action Commission headquarters in downtown Nashville as well as its satellite offices, as many households have electric bill disconnection notices.
Source: TN Dept. Human Services, newspapers