The Georgia Department of Human Services, with whom North Georgia Community Action Inc. contracts, has announced that an Energy Assistance Program is expected to open on Friday with the beginning of the homebound/elderly application intake period. Homebound households are defined as those households in which every household member is confined to the home because of medical conditions or disabilities. Elderly households are defined as those households in which every member is 65 years or older. If anyone in the household is under age 18 and all the other household members are 65 or older, that household will meet the definition of elderly.

All households participating in the program must meet the income criteria; be responsible for paying the cost of energy for home heating directly to the supplier; and be U.S. citizens or aliens admitted to the U.S. for lawful, permanent residence.

To apply, applicants must bring their most recent heating bill, proof of household income, proof of valid Social Security number, proof of citizenship with a valid picture I.D. and/or alien status. In addition, elderly households must provide proof of age for all household members.

Assistance will be in the form of a one-time payment on behalf of the eligible household to help offset the cost of heating their homes. The checks are issued directly to the home energy supplier. No checks can be issued until North Georgia Community Action Inc. receives the funds from the state Department of Human Services. Assistance is on a first-come, first-served basis while the funds last.

Any low-income residents of Whitfield County who feel that their household meets the definition of homebound or elderly should contact the North Georgia Community Action Inc.'s Community Service Center at (706) 226-7241 beginning Friday at 8:30 a.m. Murray County residents contact their Community Service Center at (706) 695-5913. Due to the lack of parking, appointments will be made by phone only.

There is only one phone line for the service center so you may have to try calling several times before getting your call through. Be patient and continue to call until you are able to reach a worker to make an appointment. Please do not come to the service center; there is not adequate parking.

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