Lines long for second day of summer cooling assistance

Doors didn't open until 8:00 am, but this is the line at about 6:00 am Tuesday.
Doors didn't open until 8:00 am, but this is the line at about 6:00 am Tuesday.

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – We're not even in what many people call the "dog days of summer" but it has already been hot, humid, and muggy across much of the country – including Kentuckiana.

That has caused many people to seek relief from the heat by staying indoors and turning on their air-conditioning.  For many folks, those units have run non-stop.

In this dire time for our economy, state and local leaders realize that many people are having a tough time trying to beat the heat.  To help out, the Louisville Metro Community Action Partnership has started taking applications for help with cooling bills.

Monday was the first day, and the demand was overwhelming.  By the time the doors opened at 8:00 am, the line stretched outside and around the Urban Government Center on Barret Avenue. Crowds were estimated at 1,000 people. CAP officials could only assist about 400 Monday.

"We took up to a certain number of people that we thought was realistic to process [Monday] and then it is first-come, first-serve," said Debbie Belt, community liaison for CAP. "Anyone that we can't process today, we'll have to ask to try again [Tuesday]."

Many people did just that.  Lines were already forming at the Urban Government Center at 4:30 am Tuesday when WAVE 3 News arrived, and people were not scared away by the downpours and lightning.

Security officials, however, were concerned about the storms, and they were able to open up the government center and allow people inside.

That's where WAVE 3 found some people passing the time by playing Monopoly.

"If I had this cash for real, I wouldn't be in this line," the Monopoly player said, talking about the Monopoly money she was winning while playing the game.

"I was here [Monday] in that line and I got turned away like a lot of other people and I was determined I was going to be here this morning," she said.

It is estimated that as of 6:00 am Tuesday, more than 150 people were lined up.  Again, doors didn't open until 8:00 am.

The program has a limited amount of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) funds for the Summer Cooling Program and expects that money to run out, possibly by the end of the week.

Applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, not by appointment as is typical during the Heating Assistance Program in the winter months. Doors open at 8 o'clock each morning, but the people we spoke with who got assistance Monday said they were in line by 7:15 Monday morning.

According to CAP, applicants need to bring the following:

  • Most recent electric bill or verification from the landlord stating the cooling expenses are included in the rent (e.g. lease agreements);
  • Social Security cards (or official documentation with Social Security numbers) or Permanent Resident card numbers for everyone living in the household;
  • Proof of all household income for the month of June (Food Stamp Award letter, Termination letter, pay stubs for the entire month, etc.) or proof of $0 income; and
  • Picture ID

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