NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Energy assistance is often one of the first and biggest needs families have when the economy takes a sudden downturn.
The Greater East Texas Community Action Program (GETCAP) learned it will be managing millions in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help individuals in need of sudden, unanticipated energy assistance.
Year to year, GETCAP receives funding to help families pay gas and electric bills. This year, the first of $5 million of enhanced CARES funding is available.
“Many are without income right now or they have experienced a significant loss of income in the last couple of months, and those are the people we are especially reaching out to," said Karen Swenson, executive director of GETCAP.
Such as Hashim Elfaki, who supports his wife and four children. The energy assistance recipient says he lost his job at a poultry processing plant upon the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in late March.
“When you are at work and everything is going good, no problem," Elfaki said. "But when you stay in your home for something like that you need some assistance.”
GETCAP wants people to know the revised proof of income guidelines are in place.
“We will be looking at income over the past 30 days," Swenson explained. "So when you look back at income over that period of time there’s a lot of people that are going to qualify that normally wouldn’t be asking for assistance or wouldn’t think that they wouldn’t qualify.”
Program Director Teresa Land says all other eligible households will still be served.
“We’re really trying to reach the elderly, disabled population and then the households with children five and under. They’re considered our vulnerable population.”
And GETCAP tells approved applicants they are very likely to receive energy assistance for the remainder of the year.
If you’d like more information or fill out an application for energy assistance, you can visit the GETCAP website by clicking here.