(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With the temperatures continuing to drop below freezing for the next few days, utility bills will be increasing to keep us warm.
However, it may be difficult for some families to be able to afford increasingly expensive heating bills.
Community Action Partnership (CAP) has programs in place to assist those who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
"There's the EA program and you don't have to have a disconnect for that and the amount you receive is based off your household size and your income," Community Outreach Manager Monica Morrill said. "Then there's the ECIP program and you do have to have a disconnect for that but you can use it more than one time and that's up to $800 funding if you qualify and the program runs from November to March so one thing that people don't realize is that you can use the program more than once."
The requirements in order to qualify for assistance include:
The heating bill must be in the name of someone 18 or older living in the home (or in the landlord's name).
Your household income must be at or below 135% of federal poverty level.
1-person household is $1,357 per month
2-person household is $1,827 per month
3-person household is $2,297 per month
You must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
You must have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts or investment accounts.
CAP has partnered with Community Services Inc. based out of Maryville, Mo. to utilize their weatherization program.
"That weatherizes your home against the cold, but just some every day tips to keep the thermostat low or make sure that your windows are shut tight or if you need to do additional insulation; small things like that can really help," Morrill said.
This year, CAP is trying to emphasize the importance of the program after seeing an increase in the number of those in need of assistance.
"The program this year, we're really trying to push awareness for it, it's actually grown from 2016 to 2017 and we're seeing almost double the amount of applicants that are qualified and are coming in," Morrill said. "We just really want to encourage people to come in and apply, it's really easy, it's a quick process, even if you're not sure that you qualify just come on down and we can give you some more information on it."
CAP is federally funded but donations are welcomed after local businesses and families have donated blankets, coats and gloves to give to families in need.
Monetary donations have also been made to the programs to help families that don't necessarily qualify for their programs but still need assistance or families that have gone over their spending limit.
Donations can be brought to the Community Action Partnership located at 817 Monterey Street in St. Joseph.
For more information on Community Action Partnership, visit www.endpov.com.