The State of Georgia, Department of Human Resources, with whom North Georgia Community Action, Inc. contracts, says the Energy Assistance Program will open on Dec. 1 for the general public. All households participating in the program must meet the income criteria; be responsible for paying the cost of energy for home heating directly to the supplier and be U.S. citizens or aliens admitted to the U.S. for lawful, permanent residence. To apply, applicants must bring their most recent heating bill, proof of household income, proof of valid Social Security Number, and proof of citizenship or alien status. Assistance will be in the form of a one-time payment on behalf of the eligible household to help offset the cost of heating their homes. The checks are issued directly to the home energy supplier. Assistance is on a “first-come, first-served” basis, while the funds last. Any low-income residents of the county who would like to apply for assistance can contact the North Georgia Community Action, Inc.’s Community Service Center for their county of residence beginning Dec. 1 at 8:30 a.m. at 706-857-0729.