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I assume this is a standard assistance line for everyone in the US, but I've used the 211 line several times to locate services or assistance. They have the hook up on nearly everything. Just dial 211 and they can direct you to what ever assistance you need in your community.
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I have had to use utility money to buy food for my family. My electric service will be shut off by Friday, May 13th if I don't pay it. I need emergency help.
Talk to your county. Most counties have a welfare department that will provide one time help for things like that. However, you will be expected to pay it back. You probably would have been better off asking different churches, the Salvation Army, etc. for help with food. If you are that hard up, see about getting on food stamps.
Talk to the electric company, they have plans for low-income and might have an emergency (one-time) arrangement they will set you up with. I don't know if you have already talked to them (and they are still turning you off), but sometimes the bill can be stalled a while longer if you just call and tell them the situation. In Texas, if you have small children they used to not be able to turn off the electricity (if they know you have small children), I don't know if that has changed or might apply to your state. Maybe you can check into that. If you go to church, perhaps your church has an emergency help fund (or a nearby church if you don't). Good luck, I've been there and I know how it feels.
In Illinois we have an energy assistance program. I would do a search on your state energy assistance programs (Illinois Energy Assistance program etc).or call your energy company directly. Sometimes they will work with you.
Most area's have an emergency phone no. now, try 211, they will give a list of number's in your area to call, Good Luck!
Not trying to be harsh with you but you truly shouldn't have waited until last ditch minute to look for help especially when it takes more than one late bill for the utilities to be cut off. Unless laws have changed drastically in the past couple of years it usually takes two or more months of not even making a partial payment effort for a utility company cutoff to occur because of protection laws.
You can still try calling your local utility company and ask for a few more days delay and call the other places already mentioned here for possible help so you might be able to avoid the shutoff. If not, at least it's springtime now with more mild temperatures and not the dead of winter so having no utilities will simply be an annoying inconvenience.
In the future, please apply for food coupons through your local Department of Social Services and also visit your local food banks on a regular basis for food assistance. Please don't put off taking care of stuff without reaching out for help before the need is dire and especially since you mention you have a family to care for.
What state do you live in?
Go to a local church. Many have the means to help.
If any in your household are under a doctor's care, you may be able to get a 30 day medical extension if the doctor writes a letter to the electric company.
Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army are just two of the places that help with this.
The Red Cross help my family when that happen to me.
Contact the department of Social Service. You may qualify for a grant or loan through the government. If you get help from an organization, some organizations like to split the cost with two other organizations. Or call the electric company and ask to be put on a budget. Then they may divide what you owe over the year with your regular bill.
Consider using some solar lighting. Out side you can use recycle such as pop bottles or other recycled items for solar lighting. Fill clear pop bottles at least three fourths full with water. Add a couple tea spoons of bleach. Cover with the tops. Leave out in the sun. They absorb light and act as solar lighting.
Good luck with your situation!
I wonder how long the bottles with the liquid bleach sitting in the sun for Solar lighting will last once you bring them in the house. Cool idea if it works.
Where can I get help with food and utilities in my area, Alpharetta, GA?
By Esther from GA
There are food pantrys in almost every area. However, where I live you can only get food at a pantry once every six months. You also have to get a voucher from someplace like social services(food stamps) or Salvation Army. In areas that don't have a food pantry the Salvation Army usually has a food pantry set up and are real good at helping people with food. However, you do have to fill out a questionaire that includes info. about income. No matter where you ask for help remember not to wear a bunch or jewelry and good clothes(I mean like you would be dressed for work.) Also some churches will give people some groceries. Most counties have a county welfare office that helps with things like utility bills, but is a one time only deal, about once a year, and they do expect to be paid back. Some communities also have some form of community action group that helps people with utilities. It is hard for others to give advice on this, because we don't know about your community. Look in the phone book and also call your area Department of Social Services. Are you on food stamps? If people qualify income wise for food stamps that would be no problem, but I have never heard of a program that helps with utilties on a permanent basis.
Call your local Department of Social Services to see if you are eligible for food coupons and, if you ask, they will direct you to food banks and other charities in your area. Also, call your local utility company(s) and see if they have discount programs you might be eligible for. I am eligible for a 30% discount because am disabled and seniors are also given the same discount.
Esther, there's a national Information and Referral hotline that has dispatch call centers in every county across the US. If you dial 211, they should know which way to direct you. A friend of mine was able to get help from our local homeless shelter, although that was toward back rent. Wherever you go, be prepared to show proof of income, and one or two might want to know how you spend your money. (The Veterans' Affairs is like that.) The rules are a little different for each organization. Any area that has a Catholic Charities office is usually good. They have food pantries you may be able to use monthly, and may be able to help you annually in relatively small amounts... usually $100-$200 towards a single bill.
That's about the method the Salvation Army uses, too. The Veterans' Affairs office can usually provide a lot more help. If you or someone in your household is a veteran and can prove it (with a DD214,) contact the office for your county. Their rules are strict - you not only need income proof for the month prior to the one for which you need help, they want to know where you spent it. They have been very generous with us a couple of years running, though.
If you fall within income guidelines - I believe it's either 150% or maybe 200% of the poverty line for your size household, there are a variety of more permanent utility programs you should be able to qualify for. My elderly hubby and I have been on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program for both gas and electric for years, and it's helped immensely. The current program is very similar to the "level billing" program. Each month you pay the same amount. There are two major differences, though: first, the amount you pay is literally a percentage of your monthly income... 10%, to be exact. Also, with the new PIPP Plus program, for each month you pay your PIPP amount in full and on time, the utility credits your account extra toward any arrearage. They credit us more than we pay every month, which is a huge help! If you have no arrearage, any amount over your PIPP amount is forgiven. Since we had built up quite an arrearage and will be paying on that for a long time yet, I don't know what would happen if there were no arrearage.
We have a place called the Pine Belt Agency. Not sure if it is in other states, but you could try to look it up. They provide assistance with various things, and if they can't, they can usually find out who does.
I live in Gary, Indiana. I am currently on Social Security disability. I have a 20 year old son who works part-time for a department store. With our income combined, we are told that we make too much for Lake County Assistance. The City of Gary Sanitation Department has combined water treatment, trash pick-up, and sewage into one bill.
I am already struggling with my other utilities to make ends meet, and my son makes only enough to get back and fourth to work, and pay for his medication. I especially need the help now since property taxes will be due in a few months. If anyone can be of service, thank you in advance, and god bless.
By Tiffany S.