Mifflin Juniata Energy Bank seeks applicants, donations

LEWISTOWN — Many low to moderate-income families rely on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to heat their homes. One should not plan to heat a home for an entire heating season on LIHEAP allocations alone. Local agency representatives encourage residents to look for additional alternatives such as saving for heat expenses each month throughout the year, enrolling in a payment program with a provider and practicing energy conservation to supplement the LIHEAP provision. LIHEAP applications opened Nov. 1 and can be submitted online through COMPASS or at the Pa. Department of Human Services (formerly the Pa. Department of Public Welfare) located in the county of the customer’s residence.

Mifflin Juniata Energy Bank, offered through a partnership with United Way of Mifflin-Juniata and Mifflin Juniata Human Services provides energy assistance to those who have been a resident of Mifflin County and/or Juniata County for 90 consecutive days and have received a shut off notice or have nearly exhausted their heat source (i.e. wood, pellets, fuel, coal or kerosene). To inquire of energy assistance contact Mifflin Juniata Human Services Department at (717) 447-5121.

Initially, customers provide their name, contact information and need to speak to a receptionist or answering service and await a return call. Upon receipt of a return call, customers participate in a detailed phone interview to connect them to necessary services. Customers who have received LIHEAP or other program funding will not be eligible for Mifflin Juniata Energy Bank financial assistance unless he or she is 60 years of age or older or if he or she a military veteran.

Mifflin Juniata Energy Bank is completely funded by local donations. Oksana DeArment, executive director of United Way of Mifflin-Juniata noted that the last few years’ donations from the community, through the Walk for Warmth and United Way campaign designations had exceeded expectations.

As a result of the outpouring of support, the Energy Bank has been able to prioritize services for Juniata and Mifflin residents ages 60 and older. The senior population faces greater challenges in securing supplemental income through employment opportunities. For these reasons, Energy Bank will provide financial assistance to those 60 and older regardless of receipt of LIHEAP benefits. There are no income criteria for any elderly customer; however, a co-payment is determined and expected based on the gross household income. Also, new this year is rental assistance. If qualified, clients will be able to choose between heating costs or a one month rental help.

The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata is the repository for all donations to the fund. All donations to Mifflin Juniata Energy Bank should be directed to the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata at 13 East Third St., Lewistown, PA 17044. Donors are asked to make a notation on the memo line of your check or include a note to indicate donations are directed to MJ Energy Bank.