Heating Assistance Programs Struggling To Provide Aid - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Heating Assistance Programs Struggling To Provide Aid

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - The demand for heat this winter is high and so are the bills.

While heating assistance programs are out there to help, many of them are struggling.

Even the Human Relations and Community Services Department at City Hall has had to help out. The department says it's seen a 60 percent increase in requests for help this year.

It's not the city's job, but they've had to help with so many people calling and agencies are unable to answer everyone.

Utilities assistance programs are running out of resources and referring people to the city. So they've gotten 40-50 calls per day.

"It's frustrating that we don't have the funds to help people," said Ivan Love.

Ivan Love is the Executive Director of Capital Area Community Services, one of the biggest players in utility aid, with eight lines to answer to people's needs.

"Last week they were full all day. People could not get through. Staff could not call out, and that's how busy the call volume has been coming in," said Love.

Love says they should be able to help 1,000 - 1,200 people by the end of the season, but it's been tough. "As the winter has gotten more severe, as the energy cost has risen, the demand has exceeded anything of recent years."

That's why Love is grateful the city is helping at all. He asks the community to pitch in too.

There are ways you can help. On Saturday the Capital Area Community Services is having their annual Walk for Warmth event to raise money for people struggling to pay the bills.

They are also asking people to round up their bills under BWL's Pennies for Power program.

The extra cents will go towards Capital Area Community Services.

If you need heating assistance, contact one of the following:

  • Department of Human Services (DHS) - (517) 887-9400
  • Capitol Area Community Service - (517) 393-7077
  • Salvation Army - (517) 484-4424
  • St. Vincent's DePaul - (517) 272-1273
  • Tri-County Office On Aging - *For 60 years and older* (517) 887-1440

By Sari Soffer, 6 News Intern.

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