TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Those who need help meeting their home heating costs may not want to delay contacting South Central Community Action Partnership for federal assistance. The agency found out Wednesday that the program, due to financial projections, will shut down early this year.

The program will end on Jan. 31.

“It’s based on the amount of money we get from the federal government,” said SCCAP Executive Director Ken Robinette. “This is a program that usually runs through February, but we are going to be shutting it down at the end of January.”

That means you need to contact SCCAP as soon as possible.

“We’re just concerned that a lot of folks plan to wait until February, but we might not have any funding available in February,” he said, noting that money is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. “We want to make sure our folks in the Magic Valley who are economically disadvantaged have this resource as long as it’s available.”

If Magic Valley residents don’t apply before the end of January, he said, the money appropriated for the program may go to applicants in Boise or other places.

Congress appropriated $11 million statewide for the program for fiscal year 2017, which started in October, and is dispersed to agencies throughout the state through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. SCCAP started receiving applicants on Nov. 1. Robinette said that on Monday only $4 million was left to assist Idaho families.

“That’s where IDHW came up with the projections,” he said.

We’re just concerned that a lot of folks plan to wait until February," says SCCAP Executive Director Ken Robinette, "but we might not have any funding available in February.

This isn’t the first time the seasonal program has shut down early, but it brings on additional challenges for SCCAP. Robinette said his staff will still try to find resources to help those who come in after the shut-down, because “we won’t want anyone to go without heat this time of year.”

More than 4,000 people applied for assistance under the program last year. About 1,000 people have applied so far this fiscal year, but Robinette said he’d like SCCAP to receive at least as many applicants as it did last year.

To see if you qualify, contact South Central Community Action Partnership at 736-0676.