Utility Assistance in Tennessee: Where to Get Help

Among the challenges of daily life, one thing that can weigh heavily on you are utility bills.

In Tennessee, there’s help available for those struggling to keep up with these essential expenses. From electricity to rent and even to groceries, various programs and organizations are able to lend a helping hand. Support can be found in cities such as Nashville and Memphis and across the state.

These resources can offer relief and support during times of financial hardship. Let’s explore the options available to residents of Tennessee.

Where Can I Get Help With Utility Bills in Tennessee?

One of the primary concerns for many individuals and families is the ability to afford electricity and home energy costs. Fortunately, many Tennessee residents can utilize a federal assistance program designed to alleviate this burden.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP provides financial assistance to low-income households to help cover the costs of energy bills. Administered through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), LIHEAP assists eligible households with their heating and cooling expenses, ensuring they can maintain a comfortable and safe living environment.

To be eligible for LIHEAP, you must be a resident of Tennessee and you must need financial assistance with home energy costs. If you participate or have family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, you might automatically meet the eligibility requirement.

To apply, you can contact your local Community Action Agency. The process requires you to show verification of income, recent utility bills and personal identification. It’s designed to be straightforward, ensuring those who need help can access it without too much stress.

Where Can I Get Help With Natural Gas Bills?

Those specifically struggling with natural gas bills should consider the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) for help.

Energy Right Program

TVA offers the EnergyRight program. This initiative provides resources and incentives to help homeowners and renters improve the energy efficiency of their homes, ultimately reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills. Additionally, local utility companies may offer assistance programs or flexible payment options for customers facing financial difficulties. Contact your provider to ask about such opportunities.

Weatherization Assistance Program

THDA is the agency that operates the state’s weatherization program. It’s designed to assist low-income households with reducing heating and cooling costs, particularly for those who are elderly, have disabilities or have children. Weatherization helps improve the energy efficiency of a home while ensuring health and safety. Interested applicants can use this map to find and contact the agency designated to assist the county they live in.

Where Can I Get Help With Rent?

Rent payments can often be a significant financial strain, particularly for low-income individuals and families.

Emergency Solutions Grant Program

The Tennessee Department of Human Services administers the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program, which offers financial assistance to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. Additionally, community action agencies and nonprofit organizations across the state may offer rental assistance programs funded through federal, state or local sources. To find one by you, check out Tennessee Association of Community Action.

Other Rental Assistance Programs

The Tennessee Housing Development Authority provides rental assistance programs to help prevent homelessness and housing instability. Each assistance program under the THDA has its own set of requirements and application process. Generally, you’ll need to prove that your household income meets the guidelines and complete an application online. Be prepared to provide details about your household income, employment and other pertinent information.

Where Can I Get Help With Groceries?

Access to nutritious food is fundamental to overall well-being, yet food insecurity remains a pressing issue for many households in Tennessee.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP provides eligible individuals and families with monthly benefits to purchase food at authorized retailers. The Tennessee Department of Human Services oversees the administration of SNAP benefits in the state, ensuring that eligible residents have access to the support they need to put food on the table.

SNAP provides qualifying households with a grocery stipend for a set length of time called a certification period. During this time, benefits are distributed using an Electronic Benefit Card (EBT). Similar to credit cards, EBT cards can be used at participating stores and online retailers to purchase groceries. The amount granted and the certification period are based on a household’s resources and situation.

You can apply for SNAP by completing an online SNAP application or uploading or mailing a printed application to TDHS.

Where Can I Get Help With Water Bills?

Access to clean water is essential for health and sanitation, yet for many individuals and families, the cost of water bills can be prohibitive. In Tennessee, some water utilities offer assistance programs for low-income customers, providing discounts or payment plans to help make water bills more manageable.

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency had a program specific to water assistance, called the Low-Income Households Water Assistance Program. LIHWAP was able to administer over $25 million in relief for water and wastewater bills, however the program ended in March of 2024 and is no longer taking applications.

The Bottom Line

Navigating financial challenges can be overwhelming, but it’s essential to know that help is available. In Tennessee, a range of assistance programs and resources exist to support individuals and families facing difficulties with utility bills, rent and groceries.

Whether through federal programs like LIHEAP and SNAP or local initiatives administered by community organizations and government agencies, residents of Tennessee can access the assistance they need to move toward a more stable and secure future.

DISCLAIMER: This content is for informational purposes only. CashNetUSA and its affiliates do not provide financial, legal, investment or tax advice.

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