November 30, 2005
Beginning Thursday, thousands will ask the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority for help with their heating bills. But they’re already out of money for the thirteen counties they cover. News 12 is at May Park where tomorrow morning many people will be left in the cold.
A lot of people are affected by this, close to 5,000 folks line up here at May Park every year on December 1st to receive money from the CSRA Energy Assistance Program. But tomorrow those who come out will likely be turned around because there is no money left to give.
Phones at the CSRA Energy Assistance office have been ringing off the hook all afternoon.
“We are out of funding this time for electricity,” said Pat Johnson.
Calls coming in from hundreds upset after finding out that the $200 they receive every year to help with their heating bills won’t be available for the first time because the company says they are out of money.
“They are upset and they feel let down. The public is used to us opening up at May Park every year,” Johnson said.
The program is usually able to help over 7,000 needy families, and those homebound and elderly.
“We had a lot of the elderly to apply this time and their reason was because of high gas prices,” Johnson said.
And because of so many elderly applied, taking priority over others, there is no money left for the thousands of families who depend on the funding.
“We are requesting additional funds from the state, so hopefully they’ll get an answer back with us as soon as possible,” Johnson said.
In the meantime, folks like Sherrie Sullivan who came by to apply on Wednesday will be turned around until more money comes in.