NECAC kicked off the utility assistance season Nov. 1, and applications so far are down slightly from this point last year.

The program began Nov. 1 for qualifying elderly and disabled clients. It will start Dec. 1 for families and individuals. Applications are available at NECAC County Service Centers or by calling 573-324-0120.

There are two types of assistance available.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) are funded by the federal government and distributed through the states, which contract with non-profit groups such as NECAC to administer the programs at the local level.

NECAC encourages anyone needing heating assistance to apply because this program is an important supplement for many people and families to ensure they stay warm this winter.