During the summer and winter, the demand for utility bill assistance in Elkhart Indiana tends to increase. The primary reason is that many families increase their energy usage during those seasons to either cool their home during the summer or heat it during the cold Indiana winters. So as the temperature increases or decreases, the energy companies in the region find that people’s utility bills spike up accordingly. Those sudden spikes have been leading to more individuals seeking help.
The cold winter months in Elkhart are notorious for high heating bills. Another challenging time is during the summer. Sometimes a heat wave may pass through, and during those periods’ customers summer cooling bills will tend to increase. Compound that with some of the more extreme weather that the region has faced lately, and that has brought some extreme energy bills to individuals. This has caused thousands of people in Elkhart County Indiana to seek financial help or face disconnection.
Three of the leading non-profit organizations are the Salvation Army (300 North Main Street, phone (574) 970-0088), The Community Church Services (907 Oakland Avenue, call (574) 295-3673) and also your local Township Trustee. All of these organizations are working together to help low income, struggling, and unemployed residents pay their bills. However these agencies all have limited finances and resources at their disposal, and with demand increasing during the seasons, many people who are not getting the help they need. Priority is usually given to the most vulnerable.
Each of the organizations is strongly committed to the task at hand though. When they can’t help someone, each agency takes it personally and it’s often difficult for the staff who work there.
The summer months present their own particular challenges. For whatever reason, June has been the month that historically has been the highest demand for assistance with paying utility bills. This tends to be caused by air conditioning units working overtime, and it also may be partly caused by kids being home from school during the summer, and therefore using more energy at home.
Community Church Services of Elkhart County will distribute funds from time to time. There have been instances in which they have provided cash or other forms of assistance to up to 50 families across Elkhart County. If they do not have money, they will try to refer individuals to other local resources or government programs.
Note that CCS partners with the Trustee and the Salvation Army. Anyone who seeks help needs to go there first before they approach CCS. Only after an applicant has sought help from the Elkhart Township Trustee and the Salvation Army, only at that time can they call upon CCS. Also keep in mind that if the client has already received any form of assistance in the past, they are not eligible for more help in the future.
Other non-profit organizations to try include The United Way and Real Services (1151 South Michigan Street phone (574) 233-8205) in both South Bend and Elkhart Indiana. Both will try to offer utility and heating assistance for eligible individuals. As with the programs referenced above, any client needs to meet income requirements, and the agencies need to have funding available. The United Way will also recommend that anyone who needs help should call 2-1-1 to find out whether they qualify for emergency financial assistance. Another option is to call your local community action agency or social service office.
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