Emergency Assistance

The Council’s long-term goal is to create economic opportunity and support self-sufficiency. However, the Council understands that families living in poverty may need more immediate support, we can also offer emergency assistance in the short-term. When funds are available, the Council can help ease the burden on families in crisis by providing direct financial assistance to cover basic needs such as food, rent, and/or utility expenses. This allows the families’ own resources to stretch a little further and cover additional costs.

Please see the Council’s “Housing” webpage for information on emergency housing assistance.


LIHEAP utilizes federal funds to help eligible households offset the costs of winter heating. The type and level of assistance depends upon the household’s primary fuel type, income level, and housing circumstances. Households earning at or below 150% of the federal poverty level are eligible for LIHEAP. Typically, the Council offers either a one-time energy subsidy or crisis assistance on winter heating costs to households that meet income eligibility guidelines. To qualify for crisis assistance, households must provide a utility shut-off notice in addition to proof of income. LIHEAP typically operates from November through March but has been operating more frequently since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Utility-funded Energy Assistance Programs

The Council partners with Community Action Kentucky and, through that state association, several Kentucky energy providers – including Columbia Gas, Delta Natural Gas and Kentucky Utilities (KU) – to enroll income-eligible customers in our core service areas of Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas counties to receive energy subsidies. Eligibility and the type of assistance vary depending on the terms of each partnership. Participants must apply for and accept home weatherization services, when available. Weatherization includes procedures such as installing energy-efficient appliances, installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, insulating ceilings and exterior walls, repairing or replacing heating and cooling equipment, and more. Participants should expect a comprehensive intake process to help determine their household’s utility needs.

God’s Pantry Food Bank at Cambridge Drive

One in seven Kentuckians struggle with hunger, including one in six children. The Council partners with God’s Pantry Food Bank to help provide emergency food assistance to eligible members of our community. Our food pantry operates almost entirely by volunteers at the Fayette West Community Center located on Cambridge Drive. The site typically operates Monday through Friday from 3 to 5PM. However, there may be times, like during the pandemic, when hours are changed or extended to meet community need. For information on how to get a referral or find emergency food assistance outside of Fayette County, please visit God’s Pantry Food Bank’s website: https://godspantry.org/help/.

Emergency Family Housing (EFH) program

The EFH program provides short-term emergency shelter and supportive services for two-parent and group families in Lexington-Fayette County who are experiencing homelessness.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program provides rent/mortgage and utility assistance to residents of Nicholas and Harrison County who have low income.

Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program

The ESG program provides services for individuals who are experiencing or at risk for homelessness. Participants are rapidly placed in suitable housing and connected with community resources to provide stability and long-term housing security.

Food Bank

Through partnership with God’s Pantry, the Council helps provide emergency food assistance by distributing food items at one of its Community Centers.

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