MUNCIE -- An East Central Indiana community action agency will operate the energy assistance program in Delaware County beginning Oct. 1.
Interlocal Community Action Program, based in New Castle, will take over for Community & Family Services, which operated the heating and summer cooling programs in Delaware and Grant counties under the name Delaware County Community Action Program during late 2010 and early 2011.
"We're excited about working in Delaware County," said Kevin Polivick, executive director of ICAP. "We'll be in a downtown location, able to serve people in need, and extend our coverage into the area. We're looking forward to being here."
Opened in 1965, ICAP manages the emergency assistance programs -- also known as heating assistance -- in Henry, Hancock and Rush counties.
They also operate other social service assistance programs involving help with rental and utility costs, as well as introducing clients to home-ownership and
For decades, Action Inc. operated the EAP for clients in need in Delaware and Grant counties.
Local families who have had difficulty paying their energy bills during the winter can apply for financial assistance from the agency.
Clients enrolled in the EAP also cannot have their gas or electricity turned off during the winter and early spring because of lack of payment.
When Action disbanded in 2010 amid allegations of financial mismanagement, Community & Family Services was given the state grant to assist families in Delaware and Grant counties with heating and summer cooling help.
During fiscal year 2011, which began in late fall 2010, 3,728 Delaware County households received EAP and summer help from CFS.
"We acted under the 'good neighbor' policy and stepped up to help a community during their time of need," said Anita Mullen, the EAP director for CFS. "But continuing the program would have extended our coverage area. ... ICAP, being based in New
In years past, EAP clients received help beginning in October, but state officials have changed the start date to Nov. 1 this year.
Polivick hopes to have ICAP's Delaware County office up and running by Oct. 15, to answer questions and get residents prepared for the Nov. 1 EAP start date.
Working in Delaware County isn't new to ICAP staff, however.
They also assist the United Way of Delaware County with the "Wrap-Around" technology project in Gaston and are happy to provide more help to families in the area.
"We've had a good experience in Delaware County, and we're sure that will continue in the future," Polivick said.
Contact news reporter Ivy Farguheson at 213-5829.