Utility assistance funds unavailable until 2013 - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Utility assistance funds unavailable until 2013

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Some blame the uptick in utility assistance on a down economy. But even though the clientele at the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency is growing, the funds have gone dry.

"We have expended our funds because of the large number of people that we served at the beginning of January 2012," said Executive Director of the GCCAA Dr. Barbara Coatney, "We obtained about $1,400,000, I believe, from LIHEAP. And those funds were given to families who were in need."

LIHEAP funds have been replenished for those who need help with utility bills across the state, but those funds won't be available until January 2013.

"The state received an allocation of $27 million, and we allocated to the agencies based on the population in the state compared to the area," said Sollie B. Norwood, MS Dept. of Human Services, Division of Community Services, Director.

Dr. Coatney said the GCCAA has contacted power company officials who said they're willing to work with families on assistance in order to keep their electricity on.

"We understand that assistance agencies are struggling for funds at this time," April Lollar of Coast Electric said in a statement. "At Coast Electric, we always try to work with all of our members who need assistance and will honor pledges that have been made by those agencies."

If the community wants to lend a helping hand to those who are in need, members with Coast Electric have the Share Your Blessings Fund. Members can make a donation through their monthly bill or visit any Coast Electric office.

If you need assistance paying your utility bill, you can visit the GCCAA web site: http://www.gccaa.org/

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