Heating and water bill assistance applications expected to rise

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Public utility commissioners across the country are warning of rising natural gas prices that may leave sticker shock when people see their heating bill but there is help available to those who need it.

For years now the Community Action Agency of Siouxland has been able to provide people with energy bill assistance with funding coming from the Woodbury County General Assistance Program and as winter approaches, the executive director of CAA, Jean Logan, said she’s expecting more families to need help because of the rising prices.

“I think with the propane expected to rise by 50 to 100 percent that we will see a lot more families that are utilizing that heat source but I also feel that the other families that are on electric or other forms of energy assistance that we’ll probably see a rise in applications,” said Logan.

Last year Logan estimated her agency helped 3,600 homes in Sioux City and are now able to provide more utility bill relief than ever before with their water assistance program, thanks to funding from the American Recovery Act.

“We have been able to do some limited assistance but with this new funding, we’ll be able to pay past bills for water, storm water, and sewer. The reason that that’s exciting, of course, is because during the pandemic, many families fell behind on those bills,” said Logan.

The one distinction is that to be eligible for the water assistance program, families must be under the maximum income requirement and show that they are in a water crisis. GM of Kalin’s Indoor Comfort, Steve Kistner, says that efforts to “weatherize” your home can also help save money on heating expenses.

“We look for maybe holes that they have coming through the foundation and say ‘You know what, maybe if you sealed up a few of these spots, you’d have less leakage.’ We also make sure there’s things that are operating safely, and look for those efficiency gains that they can find,” said Kistner.

Logan said the Community Action Agency will begin accepting applications for their Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) on November 1. To find out how to apply, log on to their website or call them at (712) 274-1610 to schedule an appointment.

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