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More funding now available for heating bill assistance
Christine Hudson adjusts her thermostat at her Cooley Drive home.

Ninth District Opportunity Inc. now has an additional $1.5 million in funding available for its Low Income Energy Assistance Program, a federally funded initiative that provides a one-time payment on heating bills for those in need.

“There’s that much need,” said Michael Fisher, housing program planner with Ninth District Opportunity in Gainesville.

Ninth District previously received $4.8 million for the 2018-19 winter season to support families with $350 or $310 one-time payments based on household income.

As The Times reported last fall, a recent Federal Energy Administration study found that 31 percent of all Americans struggle to pay their heating bills, with one in five households reducing or sacrificing food, medicine and other basic needs to keep the heat running.

“Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the FEA report stated. “Occasionally, households may lose the use of heating or air-conditioning equipment entirely. This situation can occur when equipment breaks and a household cannot afford to fix it or when a household cannot afford fuel for their equipment.”

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

  • What: Ninth District Opportunity offers one-time help paying heating bills
  • When: Until funds are exhausted or the end of April
  • How to apply: Schedule an appointment by calling 855-636-3108 or online at No walk-ins accepted. Do not call the local Ninth District office. Eligibility based on the income of every member of household.
  • More info: Applicants must provide Social Security number, photo identification, age verification, income verification and most recent home heating bill to be approved.  
  • Note: If you have already received assistance since Nov. 1, 2018, you cannot re-apply at this time. 
  • Counties served: Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Dawson, Elbert, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White.

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