Many In Louisville Glad For More Heating Assistance Money

By Tony Hyatt
WAVE 3 Political Reporter

(LOUISVILLE, January 24th, 2003, 6:30 p.m.) -- Gerri Yeheish came to the Community Action Agency Friday unaware of how lucky she was with timing. Officials in Louisville were afraid funding for heating assistance programs would run out as soon as Monday. The program got a reprieve from Washington D.C.

"Ain't that a blessing, " Yeheish told WAVE 3 News.

As the week came to an end with colder temperatures still lingering, the Community Action Agency was concerned there would not be enough money to go around.

"We had about $308,000 to spend and as of 10 a.m. Friday morning we had spent $272,00 of those dollars," said Karen Hawkins-Blade, a coordinator for the program in Louisville. "When you average about $100 a household, we had calculated that we are going to have to close the doors on Monday."

But on Friday afternoon, the Bush Administration freed up an additional $200 million for the states. A little more than $2 million will come to Kentucky. Some $3.9 million is slated for Indiana.

"We were in a position where we stopped taking applications for help last week," said Phil Ellis, director of Community Action of Jeffersonville. Many program in Southern Indiana were set to run out of money on Friday.

"We will know what our allocation is for this area by the middle of the week," Ellis said.

Ellis' agency handles the heating assistance program in Clark, Floyd and Harrison counties in Indiana. He told WAVE 3 News the agency will resume taking applications for assistance Monday morning.

In Louisville, local officials say $148,000 will come back to Jefferson County.

"Based on how much we will receive, we will try to figure out how many additional days that will allow us to provide additional assistance to people," says Blade. The office on Oak Street will be open and taking applications beginning Monday morning at 10 o'clock.

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