Somervell will receive a piece of a $123.9 million pie from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to help residents offset utility costs.

TDHCA announced the availability of funds on Thursday, Jan. 22, to help qualifying households pay their energy bills while providing the consumer education needed to reduce their dependence on future government assistance.

Texas Neighborhood Services, serving Parker, Palo Pinto, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Somervell and Wise counties, received more than $1.7 million to help clients offset utility costs.

The funds were awarded to 51 cities, counties and nonprofit organizations through the Department’s Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), which helps eligible households better manage their energy consumption for a safe, affordable environment.

“Helping low income households with their energy needs is a key component of the Department’s mission of ensuring that all Texans have an affordable, healthy place to call home,” said Michael Gerber, TDHCA executive director, in a press release. “The cost of heating or cooling a home significantly impacts the household’s ability to afford their home. Our goal is to help these households with their utility bills in the short-term while helping them to achieve self-sufficiency for the long term.”

The Department annually assists more than 68,000 low income Texans through CEAP services, helping low income households meet their immediate energy needs and to encourage consumers to control future energy costs through case management and consumer education. In addition, some households may qualify for the repair or replacement of inefficient heating and cooling equipment.

Gerber explained services are provided at the local level by 51 contract organizations serving all 254 counties in Texas and target households earning an annual income of less than $26,500 for a family of four. CEAP service providers include Community Action Agencies or other qualifying nonprofit organizations, Councils of Government and local city or county governments.

Local service providers accept applications for assistance and determine eligibility, placing a priority on households with elderly persons, very young children, persons with disabilities and the greatest energy burden.

To find the nearest CEAP provider, call toll free at (877) 399-8939 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The toll free number will directly connect you with the CEAP service provider in your county; however, callers must use a land-based phone when dialing the toll free number. Cell phones will not make this automatic connection.