You Can Get Some Help Paying Your Heating Bills

When temperatures plummeted outside, and people flipped on their heaters inside, coast heating bills shot through the roof. Just ask Susie Knight. "In October, my bill was right at $17 and some change," she said. "December it was $375."

Knight found a way to pay her heating debts. "It was a struggle," she said, "but I made the arrangements with the utility company to pay that. I couldn't pay it all at one time."

As Susie Knight knows, not everybody can afford skyrocketing utility bills. Knight works at the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency. The Harrison County chapter just received $486,000. That money will help people who are having trouble paying for their natural gas or their electricity.

According to Knight, people getting assistance "are loving it. They think this is a good program and something that is helping the community itself. Not just low income, but low to moderate income families."

Knight showed us a bill from a Biloxi family with children under the age of 17. On it, natural gas prices jumped from $315 to $574. The family just qualified for the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency payment assistance.

Who else can qualify? Knight said any low or moderate income family that has "an extreme high utility bill or utility bills. And like I said, the income guidelines and the children are the basic qualifications."

To see if your heating bills qualify for the assistance, call your local community action agency before April 30th.

So far the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency has awarded $75,000 to families who needed help paying their utility bills. For more information, you can call 868-4175.

by Brad Kessie