The Dollar Energy Fund is Pennsylvania's largest utility and heating bill hardship assistance fund. A non-profit organization administers it and it relies heavily on donations from individuals and energy company themselves. It helps thousands of families pay for their heating and utility bills each year by providing them with cash grants. Another component will provide individuals with energy conservation measures as well. Low and moderate income households located throughout the state of Pennsylvania will be able to apply for help paying for their utility bills. A number of expenses are covered. The fund will offer assistance for electric, gas, heating, and even water bills.
The non-profit organization realizes that times are tough for many people across the state and nation. Many families and individuals are struggling to make ends meet and they just need a little bit of temporary help with their bills to make it thru.
The fund has existed for almost 30 years. Over the years the Dollar Energy Fund has helped individuals and families maintain or restore basic gas, water, and electric service by providing various types of assistance grants that are applied directly to their utility bills. During 2008 they helped almost 14,000 households restore or maintain their utility service. Since then the program has continued to expand. While it was 14,000 households that were supported, this assistance impacted more than 40,000 individual adults, seniors and children who lived in those homes across the state. The fact is that many of these families who applied were asking for help for the very first time due to unemployment or other issues, such as a financial emergency, that affected their household budget. So if you do decide to donate to the program it is important to note that your money is going to help someone who is faced with a crisis and not to some never ending charity type program.
The Dollar Energy Fund works closely with 13 utility companies that are located across the state of Pennsylvania to administer the Hardship Program. The organization is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar for dollar by the utility companies themselves. What it comes down to is that the Dollar Energy Fund's success is built from neighbors helping neighbors, utility companies helping residents, and the generosity of the community and businesses. The organization hopes that those that can will pitch in and contribute to assist those people who have made a sincere effort to pay their utility bills but are truly in short term need for relief.
There are a few main components of the Pennsylvania Fund. They include some or all of the following. The Hardship Program will provide a one time grant. Universal Services focuses more on conservation and weatherization. The non-profit and the organizations that participate can also help people sign up for the federal government created and funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is another resource that can help with paying heating bills. As indicated, the Water Assistance Program, which is also part of Dollar Energy, can either provide a grant or a discount on your water bills. So qualified families do have several options available to them.
Over 60 Community Based Organizations are part of the network as well. They will begin taking Hardship Program applications beginning on October 1st of each and every year. Applications to the program will continue to be accepted until funds are depleted. As with many programs, there are some criteria, and a family of four earning up to $44,100 per year is income eligible for the program. In addition, to qualify for financial aid, the households applying must also have made a sincere effort of payment on their utility bill in the last 90 days and also have am unpaid back balance on the bill. Call (800) 683-7036 to learn more or apply.
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