Dallas, Texas – As the mercury surges to triple digits in the Lone Star State, Texans are resorting to air conditioning as a means to ensure their well-being. This increase in consumption is set to have a palpable impact on their energy bills, potentially leaving bank accounts desiccated. However, a beacon of hope for low-income households has emerged in the form of the Texas Utility Help program.
Texas Utility Help is designed to help struggling Texans with electricity, gas, propane, water, and wastewater
The program is currently inviting applications, offering financial relief for qualifying expenditure categories such as electricity, gas, propane, water, and wastewater. As detailed on its official portal texasutilityhelp.com, the process of application submission is entirely digital. In an effort to reach households lacking internet or computer access, the program permits the nomination of representatives to complete the application process on their behalf.
Provisions have been made for both homeowners and tenants, enabling them to receive the assistance as direct grants, thus negating any requirement for repayment. The oversight of this federal aid initiative falls within the purview of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Texas Utility Help eligibility is determined on the basis of income
Eligibility is determined on the basis of income, with households needing to have a maximum income at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. This translates to an annual income threshold of $21,870 for single-person households and $45,000 for families of four. The calculation takes into account the total number of residents and their cumulative gross income before any deductions.
The eligibility criteria also stipulate that a minimum of one household member must possess the status of either a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien. The latter refers to individuals enjoying permanent residency in the United States, along with other specified groups.
Financial support under the program can cover the entire overdue amount, although applicants are not required to have outstanding bills to qualify. It can also facilitate a one-off prepayment up to $2,400 made directly to utility companies.
For queries or assistance, the Texas Utility Help program can be reached via their toll-free number, 855-566-2057, operating between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, with multi-language support available.
Texas Utility Help is funded from two federal initiatives
The program receives its funding from two federal initiatives: the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program. This year, the TDHCA also channeled an additional $48 million from the Federal Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act into the Texas Utility Help program, thereby enabling Texans to better manage their energy bills.
Besides this, there are alternative sources of utility bill assistance available to eligible residents. The TDHCA provides an online tool to help Texans find assistance, and also checks for local support. Additionally, the Texas Homeowner Assistance Fund offers financial support to eligible homeowners who are grappling with utility, mortgage, and other arrears due to the pandemic. Applications for this initiative can be made online at texashomeownerassistance.com.