Getting Assistance With Utility Bills: Don't Be Left In The Dark
When the budget is tight, you can choose not to eat out, cut back on travel, and skip luxuries like going to the movies or ordering pizza. However, you must have utilities. Heat, hot water, and electric lights and appliances are important to our existence and our well being. Utilities can be expensive and non payment can lead to the loss of these amenities. That is why there are programs available to offer assistance with utility bills.
One of the first places to look for help in paying your gas and electric bills is to your state human services organization. Public assistance offers grants to help individuals keep their utilities turned on; you do not have to be eligible for Welfare and food stamps to receive assistance in paying your utility bills. At utilitybillassistance.com, you will find easy access to the state human services organizations for each of the fifty states and how to access the help you need.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a grant program made available by the federal government. The monies involved in this program can be used by eligible low income households to pay their utility bills; these monies may also be used to help low income families make their homes more energy efficient, thus saving energy all the way around. Additional information about this program and how to apply can be found at acf.hhs.gov.
Another excellent resource for heating and electric assistance is your local energy company. Most energy companies offer a case management department that will work with you to set up payment arrangements and even reduce the amount you owe. The best way to find out more about this is to visit the website for your energy company, or to call them directly.
Private organizations exist within most communities as well. For example, in Detroit, the THAW Heat and Warmth Fund raises money year round to be able to provide assistance to families in financial need. This is an independent non profit agency that works independently of county and city offices to help keep low income families warm in the winter. They are open to all Michigan families that fit the set criteria for eligibility. You can learn more at thawfund.org.
Assistance is available in New Jersey through the State of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, nj.gov/bpu. They have available the TRUE program, which stands for the Temporary Relief For Utility Expenses. Administered by the Affordable Housing Alliance, this program offers one-time debt relief to help a family get on their feet after a job loss, death, divorce, or other event that may have gotten in the way of keeping their account current.
The ASSIST program is the equivalent to these other state programs in Florida. This program makes use of the many social service agencies across the sate, and refers eligible families to appropriate resources for assistance in meeting their gas and electric bills. These programs may help pay the utility bills or weatherize their home to keep utility bills more economical moving forward.
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