With temperatures in the 90s in recent days, keeping warm this winter may be the furthest thing from the minds of many Northeast Tennessee residents. But thousands of households across the eight-county region covered by the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency (UETHDA) will need help paying heating bills in the months ahead.
An annual application process for that assistance is under way through Aug. 15.
The money, federal funds administered by the state through the UETHDA, will be paid in one-time payments this winter — directly to each recipient’s residential fuel provider.
How much an applicant receives is based on their heating costs compared to their income, said Roger Smith.
He is director of UETHDA’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
To be eligible, total household income must be at or below 125 percent of the poverty level, Smith said.
Examples of that guideline are: a one-person household with monthly income of $1,063.54 or less; a four-person household with total household income of $2,151.04 or less per month.
Many who fall within that range already know about the program, he said, but there are individuals and families across the region who don’t — or don’t know they’re eligible.
“Those are the people we like to get a hold of,” Smith said.
Benefits range from a minimum of $300 to a maximum of $500.
In recent years a majority of those served by the program have been either elderly or handicapped — and living on fixed incomes.
Last year more than 6,400 households in UETHDA’s eight-county region received assistance from the program, Smith said.
Proof of income and proof of the applicant’s fuel/energy costs must accompany applications, Smith said.
Applications are available at nine neighborhood service centers throughout Northeast Tennessee.
Those include the following locations and postal addresses — and the telephone numbers to call for more information:
•Bristol Neighborhood Service Center, 713 Volunteer Parkway, Suite 3, Bristol, TN 37621, 968-3951.
•Carter County Neighborhood Service Center, 204 Rogosin Drive, Hermitage Medical Suite 4, P.O. Box 1784, Elizabethton, TN 37621, 542-5121.
•Greene County Neighborhood Service Center, 424 E. Bernard Ave., Suite 3, Greeneville, TN 37743, 639-3681.
•Hancock County Neighborhood Service Center, Main Street, P.O. Box 325, Sneedville, TN 37869, 733-2522.
•Hawkins County Neighborhood Service Center, 904 E. Main St., Suite 1, P.O. Box 401, Rogersville, TN 37857, 272-2830.
•Johnson County Neighborhood Service Center, 112 Pioneer Village Shopping Center, Suite 16, Mountain City, TN 37683, 727-6633.
•Kingsport Neighborhood Service Center, 301 Louis St., P.O. Box 46, Kingsport, TN 37662, 247-5149.
•Unicoi County Neighborhood Service Center, 109 Gay St., P.O. Box 408, Erwin, TN 37650, 743-4103.
•Washington County Neighborhood Service Center, 300 E. Main St., Suite 303, P.O. Box 777, Johnson City, TN 37605, 928-7327.
For more information about UETHDA visit www.uethda.org.