You can receive utility bill help through the Economic Security Corp (ESC's) annual Summer Electric Crisis Program. The assistance program, which begins accepting applications in late Spring, will pays up to $300 each and every summer to help eligible residents pay their electric bills and keep cool during the summer. To be eligible for assistance, the head of the household or spouse must be 65 years old or older, or another criteria is that one or more members of the household must have a documented medical condition. The assistance program will pay to keep electric service on if a utility service shutoff notice has been sent, or the household can receive a free 10,000-Btu window-unit air conditioner for the house.
In addition, Empire District Electric Co. is also funding a separate electric bill program for Missouri residents. The program is called Project Help, and it is also administered through the ESC to keep people's power on this summer. This assistance program will pay up to $200 every six months toward electric bills for people who are 55 or older or those who may be qualified as disabled. ESC has been offering these programs each summer for over 10 years, but many people who need the help and are struggling still don't know about it, which is unfortunate. Dial ESC at 417-781-0352.
Carthage Missouri based Crosslines Ministry is a non-profit that provides cash grants and funds to qualified individuals through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. It offers a number of programs, including groceries and food, rent or mortgage assistance and utility bill assistance. As with most government programs, funding is limited. Call (417) 358-1577.
Salvation Army of Carthage ((417) 388-4051) also administrates the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, which details are immediately above. They area also a great place to learn about state of Missouri energy assistance programs.
Another branch of the Salvation Army is in Joplin Missouri. This one offers a larger menu of programs and services for the needy in the community. This locations runs the following social services. They have an on site food pantry, hot meals, feeding program, vouchers for medications and clothing, shelter, hot weather cooling center and money to pay air conditioning bills, rent assistance, and weatherization. They as well also provide emergency funds through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program for food, rent or mortgage assistance. Call (417) 624-4528
A branch of Consumer Credit Counseling operates in the region. Work with a credit or housing counselor to get one-on-one personal financial or housing counseling. Services include assists with budgeting, debt management plans and credit education; working out repayment arrangements with creditors; negotiate debts, the counselor can help clients get relief from debt collector phone calls, address over-limit fees, and also address late fees with credit card companies and other unsecured debt (like credit card or medical); provides pre-filing bankruptcy counseling, pre-foreclosure housing counseling, mortgage delinquency counseling and free foreclosure counseling. Call (417) 889-7474.
Jasper County ESC - Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area provides a number of other services. They range from government programs such as section 8 vouchers and applications to LIHEAP to Case Management and referrals from outreach offices. The goal is to help the family gain long term stability.
Carthage and Jasper County Catholic Charities - Case managers and social workers will help clients gain self-sufficiency. While this is occurring some grants or cash assistance may be available for a crisis. For example, Catholic Charities may have funds to pay rent or energy bills (to avoid an eviction), vouchers for free food or to pay for medications, and other basic needs such as clothing. However, most importantly, work with a specialist on longer term solutions such as employment. Other programs are available for immigrants and refugees in the region too. Read Southwest Missouri Catholic Charities programs.
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