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Out of the Cold
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Photo: Carlos Paes
Whether you are a person at risk seeking help or a good neighbor who wants to help at-risk families in your community, there are tools available to you to do something, whether it is for one household or many.

1.There is a web site called LIHEAP that lists all of the available assistance programs:

It briefly describes the specific help available and gives contacts in your area, including the Federal and state programs, and the local utility companies that have set aside money or established special policies to help people in need.

2. Another webpage has information for each state and community regarding the laws that govern homes being disconnected for non-payment of utility bills and the disconnection policy of each utility company.

Emergency Fund

You can use this information to help your own family, an aged relative or a family you know through your church or in your neighborhood. Maybe you should consider doing what many churches and community organizations have done–form an Energy Emergency Committee. If your group or congregation will provide a modest emergency fund, that money can be used to leverage assistance from the utility companies themselves, community action agencies that run LIHEAP programs for the government and county or state agencies. Perhaps your congregation should take a special offering or your civic club or neighborhood council can set aside a percentage of your most recent fund-raiser for immediate needs this winter.

Intervention can save lives! Older people and single mothers often despair as the bills pile up and bureaucrats tell them to call elsewhere when they phone for help. It is easier to just let things take their course. When people freeze to death they just go to sleep and the cold slowly takes them. Don’t be afraid to get involved. This is an important issue in our community.

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By Monte Sahlin. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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