Thousands expected to sign up for heating assistance

Published: Oct. 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2011 at 5:23 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - They're expecting a record number of people to sign up for assistance paying their heating bills this year. Monday was the first day the elderly or those on disability could pre-register for their one time payment from the low income home energy assistance program.

When you're living on a fixed income - finding a way to pay a monthly heating bill of a couple hundred dollars is no easy task. It's a common way of life for thousands of people in Jefferson County, like Melody Del Arroz, "we had an almost 450 dollar utility bill last year."

She recently moved to Louisville from California two years ago. "When we got here we were not used to the weather at all."

That is why she Del Arroz first in line to get some help paying for her bills from the government. With a husband about to have back surgery, she says whatever she can get is a God send. "My husband is not going to be able to be able to worry how we will survive this month. He'll be able to recover now."

While it's easing her worries, for Ricky Simmons, the aid means money for his daughters education at U of L. He and his wife Say they keep the thermostat set at 78, but the temperature feels closer to 60. That leaves them with bills near 200 a month.

Debbie Bell with Louisville Community Action Partnerships says the allotments approved range anywhere from anywhere between 46 and 206 dollars. "It's a one time benefit, but for many of these families who are struggling this benefit that can help them get back the hump or prepare for the higher bills we're all getting ready to take place." ill.

Pre-registration runs through the end of the month. Those who are not eligible to sign up early can do so starting November 2. The money will be handed out November 7.

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