With cold weather hitting much of the nation as we approach 2017 New Year’s Eve celebrations, millions of Americans may need help. There are homeless people who need to stay warm, families struggling to pay increasing heating bills, and even emergency furnace repairs that may come up. Find our list of tips and suggestions for how to make it through this 2017 cold spell.
The National Weather Service predicts the average low temperature nationwide will be about 10 degrees, which is several degrees below normal for this time of year. Most of the cold will hit the eastern half of the county as well as the Midwest, with you folks out West being spared! Regardless, as many as 220 million Americans will be impacted.
What does cold weather mean for struggling households?
Cold weather can bring a lot of hardship. With the majority of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, any unexpected expense such as a bill for a broken furnace or one or two high priced heating bill can cause a hardship. And through this on top of the recent 2017 holiday spending, the new year may bring some financial hardship to many of you. So what can you do?
First and foremost, stay warm and be safe! Set the thermostat to the lowest possible comfortable temperate to stay warm, maybe that will be in the low to mid 60s. Then throw on a sweater, tee shirt, and layer up. To save money, do not crank up the furnace or heating unit in your home.
If you are struggling to pay your heating bills, apply for 2017 LIHEAP emergency grants. This program is generally open longer term than regular 2017. Often applications are taking up through the end of the year, though note some government to offices may have limited hours due to the New Year’s Eve/day holidays.
Over 500,000 Americans may be homeless at any one time. While they will not only live in these cold weather states, there are often warm weather shelters as well as transitional housing open for them. They can drop in to get a hot meal, drink, or blanket. Many of them will often provide a bed for a nights sleep too. The shelters may be open at Red Cross Centers, the Salvation Army, churches, and other charity organizations in local communities in the Northeast as well as Midwest. Find a list of cold weather housing and shelters.
Another key to save money on utility bills is conservation, also known as weatherization. While major upgrades to your home may be too late to make before the 2017 New Year’s Eve festivities and this most recent cold spell, they can really be made at any time. It is a good time to prepare for next year. Conservation includes everything from caulking, covering widows, adding insulation, repairing air flow leaks in your home, and more. If you are low income or living in poverty, and can’t afford it, then apply for government weatherization programs.
Some improvements can be major and take time, such as weatherization and applying for financial aid. However some steps are very quick as well and can benefit you with temperatures being so low. We also have a list of more general energy saving tips. These include everything from adjusting the thermostat when leaving the house to using blankets, opening blinds for more sunlight, and more. All of these can quickly and easily be done as we close out calendar year 2017.
No matter what you done for the New Year’s Eve holiday, stay safe and warm! Try these as well as other tips to save money and get financial relief for high heating and gas bills. We hope these tips help!