A statewide program known as HeatShare can assist certain Missouri households with paying their heating and energy bills. Most of the aid is targeted at those households with elderly, disabled, or families with very young children. The Salvation Army is the main non-profit that administers the program and they may also work with other regional non-profits and charities.
For families with no other options available to them, HeatShare can act as an emergency safety net. It is generally offered for those Missouri households who need some short term help. This is not a government subsidy. While most of the assistance is offered during the winter months for paying heating and gas bills, from time to time some funds may be available for paying cooling or air conditioning expenses. Any assistance from HeatShare and the Salvation Army is only available until funding is exhausted.
The Salvation Army and other non-profits, or even the energy companies themselves, raise private dollars for the HeatShare program. The reason this is done as all money paid out is the result of donations. This is not a financial support program that is paid for by utility companies.
Since funding levels are so limited, and the demand for help is so high, the disabled and elderly are given priority. If available, some cash grants may also be offered to families with young children or to people that have never asked for help in the past. So if you have historically paid all of your bills on time in the past, then just maybe HeatShare can assist you.
Qualified Missouri families may receive assistance for both heating and air conditioning bills. As indicated, the cooling/AC bills are not the focus and any help for them is even more limited. Regardless of your power source, whether electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil or wood, assistance may be offered.
The program may also pay for repairs to a furnace, hot water heater, or other equipment. From time to time money may be offered for a repair to an air conditioner. If your equipment has zero chance of being fixed, then a replacement may be provided. However this type of assistance is not the focus of HeatShare and funds for it will be even more limited. However the Salvation Army in Missouri may also have other details or referrals to grants for emergency repairs to furnaces, air conditioners, hot water heaters and other energy related equipment, such as windows or broken doors.
HeatShare is a program of last resort, and is short term aid. It can help serve as an additional safety net for Missouri families, and is available after LIHEAP or other funds and grants have been used up. Individual contributions and donations from churches, businesses, and other groups are all used to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.
Grants, financial assistance, case management, counseling, and referrals are all offered by the Salvation Army as well. For example, social workers can also provide referrals to other utility funding sources, in addition to HeatShare. Any type of assistance is for those households that show they are unable to make their monthly utility bill on their own. If you are applying for a medical condition, then a physician's note will be needed as well.
To learn more, apply for help, or to donate then contact the Salvation Army in your county. Proof of your need and hardship will be required, among other conditions. Or households can call the Missouri Statewide HeatShare Program at 800-427-4626. As with any resource, funding is limited and is offered first come and first served to qualified families.
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