EDINBURG – The Hidalgo County Community Service Agency has nearly exhausted all their funding for the 2017 Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program.
“This came upon us almost like a train. The demand for our services is very high, especially during this weather,” said CSA Director Jaime Longoria.
Longoria and his staff have been working tirelessly with the state and other agencies to come up with additional funding so that they can continue meeting the needs of qualifying households for the remainder of the calendar year.
The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program is a utility assistance program designed to assist low income households in meeting their immediate energy needs and to encourage consumers to control energy costs for years to come through energy education. The primary intent of the program is to make funds available for future energy needs affecting low-income households.
The program is open to all Hidalgo County residents below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Roughly 44 percent of Hidalgo County residents fall into that category, which translates to over 100,000 families. However, CSA only has funding to assist about 6,000 families.
“Right now we’re requesting additional funding,” said Longoria. “We have long lines of folks waiting for assistance, up to 50 families typically show up per day looking for our help, and we’re only able to serve about 10."
The state asks for 80 percent of the $3.2 million in funding to be obligated, or spent, by May 30 and CSA has reached that goal. With that said, there is only 20 percent of funds left to be dispersed. The 20 percent is being used for walk-ins (about 10 families per day) as well as families from adult day cares that meet the criteria or elderly and disabled family members with children under six years of age.
“It’s a good thing that we are at 80 percent expenditure to meet state guidelines, but it’s also a bad thing since we want to continue serving our community,” stated Longoria.
If you are in need of assistance with your electric bill you may print the application in either English or Spanish https://tx-hidalgocounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=744
and submit to the Main Office at 2524 N. Closner, Edinburg Texas.
Hidalgo County CSA will implement a moratorium on new applications beginning Monday, July 10, 2017 until additional funds are received.