An energy assistance program has increased its access to families living on the Westside.
Merced County Community Action Agency announced this week it expanded the Westside office hours of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
"We're glad to be able to try to service the people on the Westside a little better," said Mike Polinko, LIHEAP manager.
About 5,400 people in Merced County get some level of energy assistance through the program, and about one-quarter of those live on the Westside.
The opening of a Gustine office, Polinko said, will better serve people who live in Santa Nella, Newman and Gustine. On Tuesdays, the Los Banos office will also have two workers on site.
Families qualify for assistance according to their size and income; a family of four, for example, must make less than $47,200 a year, or $3,933.33 per month.
There are four service levels, which are also dependent on a family's income.
In Merced County, 23 percent of residents live below the poverty line.
The Los Banos LIHEAP office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Los Banos Child Development Center in the Martin Luther King Jr. Building, 1624 San Luis St. The office number is (209) 827-5913.
LIHEAP is available in Dos Palos on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the WIC office, 1607 Center Ave. The office number is (209) 392-1102.
Gustine's office is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the WIC office, 405-B Fifth St. The office number is (209) 854-6832.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.