Friday, Dec 6, 2013
Requests for Heating Assistance Increase
WEST FRANKFORT -- As temperatures drop, more and more people are looking for help paying their heating bills. Organizations like Crosswalk Community Action and Good Samaritan Ministries say they're being inundated with these requests as cold weather arrives.
Good Sam in Carbondale has already run out of aid money for this month, but they say if you need the help, go and visit them now.
"When you put the heat on, your bill goes up," says West Frankfort resident Betty Qusick.
Qusick needs help paying her utilities, a service she is getting from Crosswalk Community Action in West Frankfort. And she's not the only one. Amy Alexander with Crosswalk says she's been fielding dozens of phone calls the past few days.
"Close to 100 at least and that's just in nine days. So this is the volume we handle, basically every week," Alexander explains.
She says Crosswalk receives $3 million to help people pay winter heating bills. Last year, the organization helped more than 7,000 households in three counties. And with numbers like that, Alexander says they need folks to start coming in for help before it gets to be an emergency situation.
"The need is there, there's a lot of people who are shut off and without heat right now, and we just cannot keep up with the high volume," she explains. "We have the funding, we can help them, but they have to wait unit we can get them done and get them taken care of."
The same goes for Good Samaritan Ministries in Carbondale, which runs on a much smaller scale.
"We see a lot more people when it gets colder," says Assistant Director Patty Mullen.
With limited funds, it's first come, first serve. And if you miss out, there'll likely be an unwanted heat you'll start to feel.
Starting November 1st, Crosswalk will open up applications for anyone who needs heating assistance, as long as they qualify under the poverty income guidelines. The agency serves folks in Franklin, Williamson, and Jefferson Counties. Good Samaritan Ministries and Western Egyptian cover Jackson County.
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Humidity: 86 %