LIHEAP Helps Thousands of Cherokee Nation Tribal Members Year-Round

Writing and Reporting by Jake Brown

The Cherokee Nation, arguably among the most storied of our great Native American tribes, has long been a champion of LIHEAP. Cherokee Family Assistance Manager Janet Ward commented that with the extended summer heat, “to be truthful, there would be a lot of our elders who would be really hot during the summer time and cold during the winter because they would be trying to conserve just as much as they could…We have an air conditioner loaner program that if someone has a medical condition and requires that they have refrigerated air…they cannot have a working central heat and air or an air conditioner already in their home. We can’t supplement it.”


Crediting LIHEAP’s year-round relevance to the fact that “there are families, especially when you talk about the elderly and disabled people who are on a fixed income, if they did not have LIHEAP to help them then they would have to be making the choice between whether to stay warm or cool, or food, or a lot of times to pay their medical expenses.”  With 2,076 participants served by the program last winter alone, Ward adds that “it just gives them a kind of jumpstart and keeps them going and carries them through for a little while. It does cut down on what portion they would have to pay.”