(WTVM) - Families throughout the state of Alabama will be able to easily warm their homes thanks to Governor Robert Bentley.
Bentley has awarded nearly $40 million to 22 community action agencies throughout the state to provide assistance to needy residents with electric and gas bills.
"The winter program runs form January to April so we can assist up to 1,500 people just in the heating programs and keep them warm," explains Tabitha Perry, Emergency Services Manager of Alabama Council on Human Relations.
The Alabama Council on Human Relations in Lee County was awarded over $1.3 million for their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
LIHEAP helps residents in crisis pay their utility bills and also provides energy counseling to help residents reduce future bills.
The program serves about 3,000 people a year, helping cool homes in the summer and heat homes in the winter.
"It really helps us assist our community. We see a lot, like I said we may be assisting 1,900 people, 700 of these are seniors citizens so that means a lot to keep them warm in the winter," says Perry.
Eligibility is based on income, family size and available resources.
If applications are approved, payments are made directly to the utility companies on behalf of residents.
Community Action Committee serving Chambers, Tallapoosa, and Coosa counties was also awarded over $860,000.
"Their children look to them for support, but who do they look to for support and they come in stressed and we're able to help them release some of that stress," explains Perry.
For more information about the Alabama Council on Human Relations visit, www.achr.com.