Community Action Agency keeps the lights on for those struggling with the bills

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Carla Rone is thankful every day for the help she has received to make sure the lights and air conditioner are turned on inside of her home.

"They are really here for you. There’s a lot of people that don’t know that they are out there, they really do exist, they really do help you in trying times." Rone said, "Words can’t express the feeling that they are here and God forbid if they weren’t here because if they weren’t here I would be without gas, no lights, on numerous days and numerous accounts. My lights were turned out once before, I came out, and they were on the next day. "

Rone is one of thousands who have received help from the Community Action Agency of Greater Kansas City.

"The program is for utility assistance. We have different seasons throughout our fiscal year and currently, as of June 1 through September 30, we help with light bills that are in crisis," Stacey Washington, of the CAA, said.

Washington said the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps cover up to $300 of summer electric bills for families who need it the most.

"We have taken about 2,000 applications and helped about 2,000 families so far and have spent over $500,000," she said.

It also helps give families the assistance they need so they can concentrate on other important decisions.

"It’s hard for people to focus on ‘I need to find a job’ or ‘I need to get employment or an education’ when their family is sitting in the dark," Washington said.

Rone said she will be forever grateful for the handup she has been given and hopes more struggling families will reach out.

"It’s nice to know that in this day and time that there are people out there that are genuinely concerned. It has been overwhelming first of all, I want to give God the praise and honor, that they are able to exist," Rone said.

​To qualify for LIHEAP assistance, individuals must meet each of the following requirements:

  1. The applicant must be responsible for paying home heating and cooling costs.
  2. The applicant must be a United States citizen or be legally admitted for permanent residence.
  3. The applicant must have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments.
  4. The applicant’s household income may not exceed 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, which vary according to household size and fuel type ($32,892 annual income for a family of four).
  5. The applicant must complete an application and provide the required documentation.​

You can call 816-358-6868, or visit caagkc.org ​for more information.