The Lower Columbia Community Action Program will start making appointments Tuesday for its popular low-income energy assistance program, which will have less money available this year to help people with winter heating bills.

Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments cannot be made by phone, except for Wahkiakum County residents. Appointments can be made starting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the CAP building, 1526 Commerce Ave. in Longview next to the Columbia Theatre.

To receive assistance, people are now required to attend a two-hour class on how to conserve energy.

CAP administers the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income households pay winter home heating bills.

People unable to come to CAP to schedule an appointment Tuesday can send a personal representative in their place with their name, address, phone number, and source of their income (for example, Social Security, Supplementary Security Income, TANF.)

Wahkiakum residents can go to CAP Tuesday or call for an appointment starting Wednesday. (A certain number of appointments are reserved for Wahkiakum County residents.)

To be eligible for energy assistance, a household’s income must be at or below 125 percent of federal poverty level guidelines (For example, one person could earn a monthly income after taxes of $1,164, two people could earn $1,576, three people could earn $1,989.)

Last winter season CAP distributed $549,528 to assist 1,365 households, or 3,308 people, of whom more than 1,000 were children. With an anticipated reduction in federal funds, CAP officials estimate they will be able to serve 1,100 households this winter with the $419,390 in federal funds.

CAP only pays money to utility vendors, not to individuals themselves.

For questions, people can call CAP Energy & Housing at 360-425-3430 (800-383-2101) ext. 231.

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