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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The federal government shutdown will delay the start of a heating assistance program by at least one week, WDRB News confirmed Tuesday. But if the stalemate in Washington continues, it threatens to delay the program even longer.
LIHEAP, the low-income heating energy assistance program, will be delayed one week and start on November 12. The federally-funded program helps offset the costs of utility bills for more than 100,000 Kentucky families. Early registration will continue as normally scheduled, officials said.
Mike Moynahan with Community Action Kentucky, a non-profit agency that contracts with the state to run LIHEAP, says the subsidy is a one-time payment of $150 on average.
"This is important. The shutdown has affected things. We want to try to get it going as soon as we can," Moynahan said.
Karen Malone is among the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who rely on LIHEAP.
"My bill is not due until the 19th but still might hurt me a little," she said.
Ebony Powell, who said she's previously used LIHEAP, stood next to Malone Tuesday in the Beecher Terrace housing complex in Louisville.
"Yeah I know it's going into effect. A lot of people might not have lights, some people might not have nowhere to go," Powell said.
The federal program, originally set to start November 4th will now be delayed until Nov. 12th because of the shutdown.
"Of course if we are still dealing with a shutdown on the 12th, we've got issues and we'll have to reevaluate," Moynahan said. "So we just want to get things up and running as soon as possible."
Early registration at the Baxter Community Center on 1125 Cedar Ct. will continue on Wednesday.
"Yeah because if it has been delayed a lot of people is going to need help," Powell said.