It's back this winter. Thanks to the Texas Utility Help program, those eligible here in Tyler, Longview and across Texas may qualify for help. Texas homeowners and renters who meet the criteria can apply to receive help paying utility bills.

“Extreme heat during the summer months hit people especially hard this year, which was evidenced by the overwhelming initial interest in this program. We are glad we can open up energy assistance again and help even more people,” said Bobby Wilkinson, executive director of the TDHCA. “While funds are limited, TDHCA is committed to helping as many households as possible gain a sense of stability and security for these basic needs.”

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs announced the program is returning this fall and is aimed at helping those struggling more than ever making ends meet.

To qualify for assistance through this program you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Household income at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
  2. At least occupant must be a U.S. citizen or Qualified Alien

Those applying for this aid can also request assistance for past due water and wastewater bills up to $600. The TDHCA said they will provide assistance to applicants who have been disconnected or at risk of disconnection. Approved utility payments will be issued directly to the utility company.

To date the TDHCA says it has helped more than 7,400 households, paying out more than $15 million in assistance. According to KVUE, the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) helped fund the program.

If you would like to find out more about this program, you can reach their call center at 855-566-2057, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Let's Take a Look at the Stunning & Oldest Standing Mansion in Texas

According to the home's website, construction began in 1887 by Rev. Thomas A. Broad. "Broad was a popular Methodist pastor whose sermons “showed deep thought and a familiarity with important scientific discoveries,” according to the Mason County News. However, he became better known in Mason for his second occupation as a stonecarver and builder. His work featured ornate carved limestone that contrasted with the darker sandstone."

The home has a rich history and in 1974, it received a historical marker on the National Register of Historic Places.

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