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Grant helps residents in need

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Dec. 13 a total of $46.6 million in grant funding will be awarded to agencies throughout the state of Alabama to help low-income residents – including in Franklin County.

The Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama, which serves Franklin, Colbert and Lauderdale counties, is one of the agencies that is receiving funding.

The CAA of Northwest Alabama provides a variety of services that help support low-income residents, including housing, Meals on Wheels, utility, GED classes and parenting classes. According to executive director Tammy McDaniel, this grant is something the agency is awarded every year to help with utility needs. This year CAA of Northwest Alabama will receive $1.25 million.

“It’s a good program for helping people living on low incomes to prevent loss of energy,” McDaniel said.

The federal government sets the guidelines for residents to be able to receive the money, and McDaniel said that the money is dispersed based on the poverty level of each county.

To apply to receive assistance, residents must call 256-764-5142. If they have all of the correct documentation filled out and meet the federal guidelines, the appropriate funds will be sent to the utility or gas company the resident uses. The funding covers one month of assistance per resident during the winter season, but there is a summer season program through which residents can apply for funding also.

“It’s only once a season, but people depend on it every year,” McDaniel said.

Last year the agency helped a total of 848 households in Franklin County, which amounts to 1,530 people, and helped 757 Franklin County residents with the utility funding alone.

Now through Jan. 15, McDaniel is requesting that elderly residents and those with disabilities who need assistance apply first, and then the general public may apply.