Frigid, subzero temperatures and extreme conditions will likely produce some of the largest utility bills in years for local residents. The Friend to Friend Utility Assistance Fund provides help to struggling local families that face the risk of losing heat in their homes because they lack of resources to afford their utilities.
United Way of Madison County, the City of Anderson and the Community Access Network (CAN) will partner again this year to support the county-wide assistance program. The program, which began in 2001, has provided assistance to thousands of Madison County residents throughout its existence. Financial support is needed from the community to meet this year’s anticipated need.100% of donations collected for this fund will help qualified Madison County residents reduce their utility bills during the coldest winter months.
“The need for utility assistance is great every year. However, with this year’s record-low temperatures and the fact that we still have many more cold days ahead, the need will be greater than we’ve seen in years,” said Kim Williams, Vice President for United Way of Madison County. “We need individuals and businesses to step up and help families stay warm safely rather than give them no choice but to turn to unsafe heating sources.”
Families may be protected from having utilities disconnected between December 1 and March 15 by Indiana law. However, residents are still responsible for heating costs that accumulate during that period. On March 15, when temperatures may still be low, at-risk residents could face utility disconnection if they are unable to pay their existing utility bill.
Utility assistance is currently available until funds run out. Individuals can be connected to assistance by calling 2-1-1 or contacting any CAN partner organization including the Interlocal Community Action Program, Salvation Army, First United Methodist Church or the George Morrisett Center.
ersons wishing to contribute to the fund may direct their donations to “Friend to Friend Energy Assistance Fund”, c/o United Way of Madison County, P. O. Box 1200, Anderson, IN 46015-1200. Online contributions can be made at www.unitedwaymadisonco.org/giveheat. All contributions are tax-deductible.