LIHEAP helps elderly, disabled with ‘summer cooling’

BY STACIE BOSTON
Multimedia Reporter
06/06/2016 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Anthony Pritchett, Human Services property management technician, loads a window air conditioning unit into the back of a truck. The Cherokee Nation’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides window units to qualifying Native Americans who are 60 and older or disabled. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps thousands of eligible Native Americans yearly with their heating, and in some cases, cooling sources.

Janet Ward, Family Assistance manager and LIHEAP coordinator, said “summer cooling” aid is eligible to those who are over 60 or disabled and received a winter heating payment.

“Our summer cooling program is only for the elderly and disabled,” she said. “When we say disabled, disabled are those who are actually receiving a disability check. So if they received LIHEAP during the winter from us, like in October or November, then they would be eligible for the summer cooling and the supplemental payment that we done this year.”

She added that payments would be sent to the clients’ electric providers.

“Summer cooling usually goes to their electric,” she said. “The elders and disabled that received the winter heating, they will have gotten a letter in the mail for them to return a mail showing who their electric vender is. And then they get that information off there with their account number, and then it will be mailed directly to the vendor.”

She said she hopes to see payments disbursed by the end of June or the first part of July.

Ward said in some cases LIHEAP provides window air conditioner units for qualifying Native Americans who are 60 and older or disabled.

“The AC units are apart of our LIHEAP program. It’s a small air conditioning unit that’s just for a one-room cooling station. They’re (for) the elderly and disabled, and they have to have a medical (statement) that stated that they have to have refrigerated air,” she said. “If they have a working window unit or central air already in their home they would not be eligible because we can’t supplement them.”

To receive a window unit, Ward said clients would not had to have received LIHEAP in the winter but would have to be LIHEAP-eligible. She said clients should visit a field office to see if they qualify.

Ward said during the winter LIHEAP helped 1,738 clients who were 60 and older or disabled and 316 who were under 60 and not disabled. She said numbers vary annually but tend to increase.

“Every year, usually, our numbers increase because people, you know, word-of-mouth gets around and they tell their family members. Then DHS (Department of Human Services) also sends people our way so that they can use their funding to help others, too,” she said.

Ward said she thinks the program is a “great” help to those needing the assistance it offers.

“Our elders, sometimes during the wintertime and then in the summertime, they try to cut back because of the high cost of their utility bills, and they don’t keep their houses warm as what they could,” she said. “If this program was not there we would probably have some elders that would keep their air conditioners turned down to where they really weren’t keeping cool or even in a safe environment. But because we’re able to give a summer cooling to the elderly and disabled then it helps defray the cost that they would have to pay out.”

Ward said new clients could apply for LIHEAP later this year.

“We’ll open it back up to the elderly and disabled in October or November,” she said. “So if they received LIHEAP from us they will get a letter in the mail stating what time their appointment is and the location. Then the new ones, they will just need to call into the office, and then we can let them know which dates because we go to different field offices…so we have to schedule ahead of time so they will have to get with us to determine where they would need to go to make their application if they didn’t get it last year.”

LIHEAP is available to citizens of federally recognized tribes living within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and qualify for the benefits.

Benefits are calculated based on the number of people living in a household, the amount of income for those over 18 years old and the home’s energy source. Applicants who are 60 and older or disabled will be given top priority.

To apply, a client must provide a Social Security card, Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card, residence verification, heating utility account verification, proof of income of all household members 18 and older and proof of disability if trying to participant in the program under that category.

For more information, call 918-453-5327 or email janet-ward@cherokee.org.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏲᏟ ᎤᏂᎷᏤᎯ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᏚᏁᏅᏒ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏴᏜᏗᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᎦᏴᎵ ᏯᏛᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏰᎵ ᎬᏩᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏁᎯᏯᎢ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᏂᏓᏕᏘᏴᎯᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦᏓ, ᎤᏂᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ.

Janet Ward, ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎧᏁᏥᏙᎯ ᎠᎴ LIHEAP ᏗᎫᎪᏔᏂᏙ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ “ᎪᎦ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ” ᎢᏳᏅᏃᏙᏗ ᎡᎵᏊᎦᎨᏥᏁᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏩᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎤᏂᏁᏓ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎾᏈᏴᏙᏗ ᏥᏓᏂᏁᏍᎬᎢ.

“ᎯᎠ ᎪᎦ ᎠᏴᏜᏗᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᎾᏍᏗ ᏓᏂᏁᏍᎪ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏂᏁᏓ ᏱᎩ LIHEAP ᎪᎳ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎤᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᎭᏂ, ᏯᏛᎾ ᏚᏂᏃᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᏕᎧᎸᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏱᎩ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎦᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎪᎦ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎠᏈᏴᏙᏗ ᎯᎠ ᏃᎦᏛᏁᎸ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏓ.”

ᏃᎴ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏪᏒ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏈᏴᏙᏗ ᏭᏂᏅᏓ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎩ.

“ᎪᎦ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ ᎠᏈᏴᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᏈᏴᏙᏗ ᏫᎦᎶᏍᎪᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᎪᎳ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᏂᏁᏍᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎨᏳᎳ ᏚᏂᏁᏌ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᏙᏛᎤᏂᏁᏓ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏫᏓᎾᏈᏱᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ. ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᏚᏂᎲᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏂᏙᏛᎤᏂᏅᏓ.”

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎤᏩ ᏧᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏗᏈᏴᏙᏗ ᏗᎦᏅᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎣᏂ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏕᎭᎷᏱ ᎧᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏧᏴᏉᏂ ᎧᎸᎢ.

Ward ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎨᏒ LIHEAP ᎠᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᏦᎳᏂ ᎠᏠᏗ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎬᏩᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᎵᎧᏂ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ.

“ᎾᎿ AC units ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ LIHEAP ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ. ᎤᏍᏗᎢᏊ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᏌᏊ ᎧᏅᏑᎸ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏎ ᎤᏂᎾᎢ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎠᏎ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎢᏳᏃ ᏳᏂᎭ ᎦᏳᎳ ᏦᎳᏂ ᎠᏠᏗ ᎠᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ Ꮭ ᎬᏩᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ.”

ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎬᏩᏂᏁᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏦᎳᏂ ᎠᏠᏗ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁᎯ, Ward ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Ꮭ ᎠᏎ ᎤᏂᏁᏓ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏬᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᎪᎳ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ LIHEAP. ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᎿᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏧᏃᏪᎶᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᏂᎦᏛᏗ ᎡᎵ ᎦᎨᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏱᎩ.

Ward ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎳ ᏥᎨᏒ LIHEAP ᏚᏍᏕᎸᎲᎢ 1,738 ᏯᏂᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎠᎴ 316 ᎾᎿ Ꮭ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏱᎨᏎ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᏗᏎᏍᏗᏃ ᎨᏒ ᏂᏓᏕᏘᏴᎯᏒ ᎠᎪᏙᏍᎪᎢ.

“ᏂᏓᏕᏘᏴᎯᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ, ᎠᏁᎳ ᎧᏁᏉᎪ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ, ᏣᏅᏔ ᎦᏬᏂᏓ ᎡᏙᎰᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎾᏓᏃᎯᏎᎰ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ. ᏃᎴ DHS (Department of Human Services) ᎾᏍᏊ ᏙᏗᎦᏅᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᎭᏂᏗᏢ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᎠᎲ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᏧᏂᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎾᏍᏊ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Ward ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎬᎬ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ “ᎤᎪᏓ” ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬᎢ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏛᎢ.

“ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᏗᎦᏤᎵ, ᎢᏴᏓᎭ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎳ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎦ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᏠᏯ, ᎠᎾᏁᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᏲᏟᎨ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎾᎦᎵᏗᎩ, ᏝᏃ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎤᎦᎾᏩ ᏱᎾᏅᏁᎰ ᎦᎵᏦᏕ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎢᏳᏃ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᏳᏅᏙᏗ ᏚᏂᎲ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎤᏴᏝ ᎢᎬᏁ Ꮭ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎤᏴᏝ ᏱᏂᏓᎬᏩᏅᎾ Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᎩ. ᎠᏎᏃ ᎾᎿ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏗᎦᏲᏥᏁᏗ ᏥᎩ ᎪᎦ ᎤᏁᏌᏴᏜ ᎢᎬᏁ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎤᏂᏍᏕᎵᎭ ᎡᎳᏗ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᏓᎵᎬᏩᏢᏍᎬᎢ.”

Ward ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏂᏤ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏗᎬᏩᏃᏪᎶᏗ ᎬᏩᏂᏔᏲᏍᏗ ᎯᎠ LIHEAP ᎣᏂᏗᏢ ᎯᎠ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏓ.

“ᏛᎣᏥᏍᏚᎢᏏ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏗᎬᏩᏃᏪᎶᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏚᏂᏃᏗ ᏃᎴ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᏕᎧᎸᎢ,Ꮰ ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎢᏳᏃ ᏱᏛᏂᏁᏏ LIHEAP ᎪᏪᎵ ᏯᏂᎾᎦ ᎧᎬᎮᏍᎩ ᎢᏴ ᏭᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎠᏂᏤᏃ ᏭᎾᏟᏃᎮᏓ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏗᏂᏯᎥᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏲᏥᏃᎯᏎᏗ ᎢᏴ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏃ ᎤᏣᏘᏂ ᏦᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎤᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ……. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎣᎪᏪᎶᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᏭᏁᏓᏍᏗᎢ ᏭᏃᏪᎶᏗᎢ ᎢᏳᏃ ᎤᏂᎩᏓ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏱᎩ ᏐᎢ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.

LIHEAP ᎡᎵᏊ ᎬᏩᏂᏩᏛᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᏃᏪᎵ ᎨᎪᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏚ ᎢᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎭᏫᎾᏓᏢ ᏱᏓᏂᏁᎸ ᏃᎴ ᏣᎦᏓᏂᎸᏨᎢ ᏱᎩ ᎠᏥᏁᏗ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎲᎢ.

ᎤᏂᎲᏃ ᏗᏑᏱᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎾᏂᎥ ᎾᎿ ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ, ᎢᎦ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏩᏘᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏂᏛᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏬᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎧᎵᏏᏌᏅᎢ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎸᎳᏗᏢ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴᏗᎾ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎨᏥᏁᏗ.

ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᎧᎵᏏᏐᏗ, ᎠᏏᏴᏫ ᎠᏎ ᎤᏃᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ, ᎡᏦᏟᏍᏙᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎮᎸ ᏗᏎᏍᏗ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ ᏣᏅᎢ, ᎾᎿ ᎯᏁᎸᎢ, ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎲᏗᏍᎬ ᎯᎦᏃᏗᏍᎬ ᏤᏅᏒᎢ ᏎᏍᏗ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎢᎦ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎦᎷᎬ ᎨᏒ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎢᏥᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏧᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎦᎸᎳᏗᏢ ᎠᎦᏘ ᎠᎴ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎡᎵ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᏳᏃ ᏯᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᏥᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᎿᏂ.

ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎱᎯᏍᏗ, ᏫᏣᏟᏃᎮᏗ 918-453-5327 or email janet-ward@cherokee.org.

About the Author

stacie-boston@cherokee.org • 918-453-5269

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