The Salvation Army and almost all utility companies in Kansas have partnered together to create the HeatShare program. The program was created to serve as a safety net for struggling and lower income households that are challenged with paying their electric, gas, and heating bills during the winter. It is intended to be a last resort for those people that have no other options available. A focus of HeatShare is on assisting seniors, the disabled, and people facing a medical risk if their heat were to be disconnected or if they were to run out of fuel.
For those Kansas families that can prove their need and meet other income guidelines, HeatShare can serve as a safety net for those households. It is intended to be a helping hand for those that need temporary assistance with paying their utility bills. It relies on donations from the community, so funding is limited. The program will operate across the state until those funds run out.
It is run by a non-profit, and the HeatShare program raises private dollars across Kansas to provide energy assistance to the least fortunate. As indicated, the elderly and disabled are given priority in the state when funds are limited. Others from the community can apply as well though. The Salvation Army will process applications for it.
The program also provides emergency and financial assistance to low income and working poor households and also to those who are seeking help for the first time and that have never asked for assistance. This group is actually becoming bigger due to the weak economy. Many people are right on the edge and fall behind on their heating bills due to unexpected expenses such as a car repair, birth or death in the family, medical bills, and in general find themselves unable to pay a bill.
The non-profit, working with the Kansas Salvation Army, will try to provide financial assistance one time per heating and one time per cooling season. Note that air conditioning and cooling bill assistance is only available to those with a physicians confirmation or doctors note. They also need to be without air conditioning and be faced with the loss of a life in the home.
While the focus is on offering assistance during the winter, HeatShare also offer assistance for both heating and air conditioning bills. The grants can go towards paying natural gas, electricity, propane, fuel oil or wood bills. When funding and resources are available, HeatShare grants can even help Kansas families make emergency repairs to air conditioners, furnaces, hot water heaters and other energy related equipment. While less common, some funds may also be offered for repairs to broken windows, heat and air conditioning retention, and also windows.
As indicated, the program is really a "safety net" to the lower income and struggling citizens of Kansas. It was created in the early 1990s. Throughout the state of Kansas, creative fund raisers, individual contributions, and Sunday Church offerings go to raise money for the low income. It can even help relieve some strain on existing assistance programs that may already be overburdened taxpayer.
HeatShare is also effective at providing counseling, financial assistance, and referrals to other utility funding sources as well. This is yet another service offered when a household shows they are unable to make their monthly utility bill payment.
The main beneficiaries of HeatShare include disabled people whose physical capabilities limit their ability to maintain income to adequately cover energy bills. Another focus is on seniors in Kansas with low incomes and no alternate source of help. The third priority is for those households that have experienced an unexpected financial emergency or crisis which has caused them to lose income. It is administered by The Salvation Army, a full-service organization, and they help to decide who will get funds. However, anyone can apply. Ask your energy company, or the Salvation Army center near you, for more information.
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