The Energy Crisis Assistance Program, which shut down a few months ago, has received a much-needed jump with a $500,000 appropriation from the Legislature.
The ECAP program, which operates under the Department of Human Services and helps pay electrical and gas bills for elderly residents, has had historic funding problems and shut down in May when the money to run the program ran out.
Senators passed an appropriation in June to save the program, taking $500,000 from another appropriation made to the Department of Education’s third-party fiduciary, which government officials said had not been used. It is hoped that the money would be enough to take the program through the fiscal year when more funding becomes available.
According to a press release from the Department of Human Services, the program will be up and running staring Monday, July 18. Officials said they will continue to monitor the funding as energy rates continue to go up and will also keep a close eye on what the federal government does to help the program through its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Bimonthly payment for electrical bills will be provided to current and new clients who meet eligibility requirements. All elderly and disabled persons interested in receiving assistance (and those receiving assistance before the shutdown) are asked to bring their current electricity bill and proof of household income to the Division of Family Assistance office in the Knud Hansen Complex on St. Thomas or to offices in Golden Rock and Frederiksted on St. Croix, the release said.