Need help paying utility bills?


INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) If you need help paying your utility bills, you can apply for help through a federal program.

A single mother of two, Emma Reynoso, said it’s so tough making ends meet. It’s often hard for her to afford the utility bills, especially as it gets colder.

“With kids, you have to always keep it on,” said Reynoso. “You can’t budge at that. It’s very important to keep the house warm, so bills go up higher.”

Reynoso said her average monthly bill is $225, but as the temperature drops, Reynoso said that “it can get up to $300-$400s, living in a house.”

Now, she’s in danger of having her gas disconnected, which means no heat.

“It’s hard,” said Reynoso. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s stressful. It worries you a lot.”

This is where United Way of Central Indiana comes in. They’re part of a statewide network of agencies that helps distribute money for the federal-state Energy Assistance Program. It’s in line with Indiana’s Housing and Community Development Authority and the Federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

Mary Jones, director of Basic Needs for the United Way of Central Indiana, said the program can be important.

“During the time of the year when heating costs can be very high, this helps families be able to meet their heating burden and still be able to afford their rent and food and all the other things that happen in life,” said Jones.

The Energy Assistance Program, which opened Wednesday, is designed to help low-income Hoosiers who are at 150 percent of the federal poverty level or below.

In Marion County, United Way served more than 18,000 families via the Energy Assistance Program.

“It assists them with a one-time payment to the utility company to help them meet their heating needs during the winter,” Jones explained.

A single mom, Reynoso said the program would be “awesome. That would help a lot.”

Reynoso said she’s going to sign up Thursday night.

Statewide, you can call 211 for help with this.

Brad Meadows, marketing and communications director for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, said the program concludes May 18.

He added: “Energy assistance is determined on income. Homeowners and renters, even renters with utilities included in rent, may be eligible. Anyone wishing to apply should contact the local service provider.”

According to Meadows, local service providers are listed by county. Meadows said applications are accepted in person or through mail.

For more information on the Indianapolis Energy Assistance Program, click here.

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