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Gregg County assistance programs.

Cooling and utility bill help

Helping Hands of Kilgore received a much need donation from AEP SWEPCO. The funds will be used to help families pay for cooling and energy bills. Phone number (903) 984-1796.

Helping Hands received the donation, as is part of AEP SWEPCO's "Neighbor To Neighbor" energy bill assistance program, which was created to help needy families pay their electric bills and keep their serve on. It can help Gregg County and Longview families.

Helping Hands, which is also known as the Kilgore Ministerial Alliance's food pantry also has its own program that provides assistance to pay utility bills for Kilgore Texas residents who are unable to pay their bills.

SWEPCO's says that the Neighbor To Neighbor program is a year-round emergency relief fund that is available to all SWEPCO customers in the company's service territory who live in the north and east parts of Texas. Aid is also available for those who reside in northwest Louisiana and western Arkansas.

You can also help your neighbor, as SWEPCO customers can make donations and contributions to Neighbor To Neighbor by mailing in a one-time payment, no matter how small, with their electric bill and mentioning the program. All donations are tax deductible.

There are many other places where one can get help from this program. Neighbor To Neighbor funds are passed out and administered for the company through about 14 designated community action agencies, such as Helping Hands, and other charities, and 100 percent of the funds collected by SWEPCO go back into the community to help those who are struggling. These agencies and charities, not SWEPCO, will determine who receives assistance based upon need.

The fund is fairly large, as SWEPCO contributes $130,000 to the utility bill assistance program each summer when the demand for aid is at its highest in the hot Texas weather.




Help for bills and emergency aid

The Greater East Texas Community Action Program (GETCAP), which can be reached at (903) 758-5674, offers numerous services and assistance programs that can help people pay their bills, debts, and other household expenses. They offer emergency services which are provided to qualified clients based on extraordinary circumstances that could not be foreseen. Services offered from these programs include assistance with obtaining free food, shelter, prescription medications, and minor home repairs.

A number of other programs are available in Gregg County Texas from the non-profit  agency. They process applications for the Head Start program as well as federal benefits such as LIHEAP. Another key focus is on education and job placement, including prepping for the GED or ESL classes. Or learn about regional loan or grant programs for emergency expenses such as a partial rental payment or deposit. Click here East Texas Community Action programs.

Assistance from Longview Community Ministries - This is one of the Longview areas leading non-profit, social service agencies and they operate in the Gregg County region. A number of emergency assistance programs and support is provide to the working poor, unemployed, and low income.

Examples of services provided by the  Family Crisis Service Center includes financial help for utility and air conditioning bills. Emergency food boxes and hot meals may be distributed by the ministry and local churches. Other services may be free fans to cool a home, emergency rental assistance, free job and life skills training, and other aid. 506 North 2nd Street, Longview, TX 75601, dial 903-753-3561.

Emergency rental assistance - Residents of Gregg County can call upon churches, local government housing authorities, or non-profits for help. The agencies will offer information on everything from local shelters to funds for paying back rent or a deposit. Any support is limited, but a focus in Longview Texas and the region is on preventing an eviction. More information.

Community Outreach Mission provides energy and cooling bill help to families that are out of options. They need to have applied to other charities, loan programs, and government agencies first. The Longview charity is at 903-757-3601.

Free food is available from charities and non-profits. Residents can also look into government aid such as Summer Food Service or SNAP food stamps. However some of the main pantries are below.

  • Fresh Start Ministries at 614 N. Center Street
  • Food pantry at the Salvation Army may also have assistance for children and the elderly. Call 903-215-8463.
  • McCrary's Chapel can be contacted at (903) 984-5622.
  • There are many other locations to turn to for everything from a holiday meal to hygiene items or a box of food. Find food pantries in Gregg County.





Weatherization and energy bill help in Gregg County

Additional energy and utility bill services and cash grants are provided to Gregg County residents by the community action agency, usually on a “one-time” only basis. The programs will assist local households with paying for their utility, water, and electric bills. Target client populations of the programs include the elderly/disabled, unemployed, households with children under six years of age, and working low-income families who need a little extra support. Call (903) 758-5674.

In addition to the direct financial assistance and cash grants mentioned above, additional so called weatherization services are designed to help families lower their energy bills. The weatherization program can help stop air infiltration in the home of low-income elderly and disabled clients and low income working families. The weatherization program helps people conserve energy by such activities such as insulating attics, caulking, repairing/replacing doors and windows, and adding weather stripping, all of which are performed to help make homes more comfortable and to conserve energy and reduce bills.

By Jon McNamara














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