MOREHEAD CITY — Those needing help with the escalating cost of heating bills may qualify for assistance through the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).
LIEAP is a federally-funded program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills.
County Department of Social Services Director Jessica Adams made the announcement during the Nov. 14 County Consolidated Human Services Board meeting, held in the health department conference room.
Households including a person aged 60 or older or disabled people receiving services through the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services are eligible to sign up for assistance Dec. 1–31. All other households may apply Jan. 1 – March 31 or until funds are exhausted.
Households that meet the following criteria may be eligible:
Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria.
Meet an income test.
Have reserves at or below $2,250.
Be responsible for their heating costs.
Those interested should contact the County Department of Social Services.
Adams also reported that there is a shortage of availability in county childcare centers. Due to the shortage, “We have removed all children from our Child Care Subsidy waiting list and are ready to serve them as spots in the childcare centers become available,” she said. “This has resulted in low spending this year so far, around a 56% spending co-efficient.”
She added that many county childcare centers have taken advantage of state Child Care Stabilization Grants to help with a workforce shortage by boosting pay and benefits.
In other news, Adams said the number of county children in foster care at the end of October was down from the previous year. There were 61 children in foster care at the end of October, compared to 88 children in October 2021.
“This can be explained by our increased capacity to provide in home services and an emphasis on keeping children in their own homes or with relatives,” she said. “We’ve also achieved permanency for a number of children. This is something to be very proud of.”