Utility assistance available for low-income residents

Starting Monday, low-income residents in Southwest Louisiana can schedule an appointment to apply for financial assistance for electricity and gas utility expenses.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, the federal government will release more than $863 million to help low-income households with their home energy costs under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

In Calcasieu Parish, the Human Services Department is working on the LiHEAP program. A news release from the Police Jury indicated that “more than 4,100 people parishwide benefited from this program” based on 2011-2012 statistics.

The program is based on a homeowner’s total income. Priority is given to residents over 60, households with children under 5 years of age, and residents with disabilities, according to the release. Applications are evaluated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Residents must schedule an appointment before applying for assistance. To schedule an appointment, call 721-4033.

A list of locations and times for appointments:

Lake Charles — 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-noon Fridays.

Sulphur — 9-11:40 a.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month.

DeQuincy — 9-11:40 a.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Westlake — 9-11:40 a.m. on third Monday of each month.

Vinton — 9-11:40 a.m. on second Tuesday of each month.

Iowa — 9-11:40 a.m. on fourth Thursday of each month.

Starks — 9-11:40 a.m. on second Thursday of each month.

Bell City — 9-11:40 a.m. on first Monday of each month.

Online: www.cppj.net.