People who have received assistance to pay for high energy bills in the past could be left out in the cold this year due to a funding shortage.
The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program in our state has been revamped, affecting all one hundred counties.
Last year in Pitt County more than $1.1 million was allotted to the program. It has been cut down to $276,864 this year to help low income families get a one-time payment on their electric bills.
The application process usually starts on November 1st, but this year it will begin a month later, with only those 60-years-old and older, and the disabled allowed to apply first for the funds.
Gwen Burns of the deputy director of social services for Pitt County and says, "This year there is not automatic eligibility. Everyone will have to apply and then heating assistance checks will no longer be sent to the person who applies to the check, it will be sent directly to the vendor, whoever their heating service is."
Those who are not on the priority application process can apply February 1st, if there are funds still available.
There is still a crisis intervention program to assist families.