Currently, the Lopez Island Family Resource Center is announcing that assistance can be had in the areas of energy and tax services. Patsy Haber, LIFRC coordinator, said, “We just received an additional 20 slots for the energy assistance program, and I am sure there are people out there that would really benefit. This doesn’t mean you have to be in crisis to qualify for the assistance. To be eligible, you need to own or rent your home, pay energy bills, and your income needs to be at or below the qualifying guidelines. We can help you figure out the income qualifications.” Interested parties can contact the LIFRC and staff members can assist clients with the financial tables. Haber continued. “You can get help paying energy bills, and there are other benefits. Opportunity Council members will even come out and do an energy assessment on your home for free…what they call an energy conservation education. They can also provide weather stripping and better light bulbs and information on how to weather-proof your home,” said Haber.
The Opportunity Council, who funds the energy assistance program, also helps homeowners with furnace repairs and weatherization of homes, helping with insulation issues, draft reduction issues, and other energy conservation-related areas.
The LIFRC is also assisting islanders with free tax services. Said Haber, “We are working with a local CPA (Brian Leyde) to provide these services. LIFRC has received a grant from the Harvest Foundation to help qualified families get free tax returns done. Brian will work with the clients one on one and he’ll help them do the tax return and he will e-file it for them. A family must qualify for the earned income tax credit to take part in this program, so please call LIFRC to see if you are eligible.” LIFRC’s number is 468-4117.
Another way during these difficult times to make ends meet is to take part in the Basic Food Program offered by LIFRC. People who qualify receive an ATM-like card. Funds are then deposited at this account with which to purchase food. Contact LIFRC to inquire into the programs. All information and interviews are confidential.