Fans as well as help paying the air conditioning bill is available to eligible Nebraskans.
Teri Chasten with the Department of Health and Human Services says last year, the state used $82,000 in federal funds to provide fans for about 3,000 households.
“We have not in any of the recent years, going back probably at least 10 years, run out of money for the program,” Chasten tells Nebraska Radio Network. “The feds have provided us enough funds to meet the needs of Nebraskans.”
The state works with 59 organizations in 20 Nebraska counties to distribute the fans. The organizations determine who is eligible for a fan.
Chasten says some federal funding is available to pay high summer utility bills, but eligibility requirements for the funds are strict.
“Mainly because we spend the majority of the federal funds in the heating season and then the cooling season comes in later and we have concentrated cooling on the most vulnerable,” Chasten says.
The money comes from the LIHEAP program, an acronym that stands for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program run by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. It mainly is used during the winter, to help the poor cope with high heating bills during cold days.
It is available for Nebraska households with income levels just over 100% of the federal poverty level.
Those eligible must be at least 70-years-old, or disabled, or a family with young children which received federal assistance.
Chasten says demand this year tracks with demand in the past.
“From what we’ve been monitoring so far it’s basically the same as it has been the last few years,” according to Chasten. “It has not been as hot as it maybe has been the last five years, so it seems to be pretty stable with the demand that we’ve had in the previous years.”
Applications can be requested online at ACCESSNebraska.ne.gov or by calling 1-800-383-4278, or any local DHHS office.