Local organizations providing utility assistance as winter approaches

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ST. LOUIS – Temperatures have dropped much earlier as we enter the winter season and, of course, that causes us to hike up the heat.

The Community Action Agency of Saint Louis County has information on how you can receive help taking care of those utility bills. Several agencies and utility companies have partnered and are working together to provide you with help to make ends meet this season.

“There are a lot of people out there, elderly, disabled, and single-parent households,” said Georgie Donahue, director of program administration for CAASTLC. “It’s tough to meet all of your expenses especially when it gets cold.”

CAASTLC wants to get the word out that they have help for hard times. Mary Booth, a recipient of the funding, sits in a warm home now.

“That’s what they’ve helped me do is to protect my castle here,” Booth said.

“We help administer the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP.) It is a federally funded program that is passed through the state,” Donahue said.

With an application and meeting the requirement for energy assistance based on income, recipients can receive between $250 and $300 for basic heat or gas.

Spire and Ameren are both a part of the efforts.

As a diabetic who also uses an oxygen tank, Booth said the assistance helps her pay for medical bills and prevents her from making choices between necessities.

“You do sometimes…you have to make a choice, and for me, the choice was always the food,” Booth said. “I would have to go to food pantries to supplement that.”

The program for the winter season runs through the end of May.

Those who do not meet the income-based requirements or need more money than the LIHEAP grant offers can still be covered by Heat Up Saint Louis – a nonprofit charity that helps to lift the burden for both Missouri and Illinois families.

The partnerships are helping to keep people like Mary from the cold and give a break from the big bills it brings.

“That’s why this Thanksgiving I really think CAASTLC tremendously for all they have done for me,” Booth said.

For information on the LIHEAP grant, click here.

To receive assistance from Heat-Up St. Louis, click here.

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