Thousands on waiting list 2 days after Energy Assistance Program announces depleted funds

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email
Patricia Johnson, the CSRA Heating Assistance Program Energy coordinator, said the program only received $1.1 million this year. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 2, 2011)

Patricia Johnson, the CSRA Heating Assistance Program Energy coordinator, said the program only received $1.1 million this year. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 2, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Dec. 2, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Johnaria Roberson arrived to the EOA office Friday, hoping to receive assistance.

She came to find out the program that's been helping her family for years needs help of its own.

"Sometimes I feel like crying. When it gets hard like that, it makes a lot of people feel like crying 'cause you trying to figure out how you going to come up with it and hoping and praying that EOA does have funds to help us out."

Every year, money is disbursed to the EOA in November and that allows them to help families in 13 counties through at least March.

This year, it didn't even get them through the end of the month.

Patricia Johnson, the CSRA Heating Assistance Program Energy coordinator, said the program only received $1.1 million this year.

Last year, the program received $4.5 million. With that $4.5 million, they helped up to 15,000 people through April.

This year, workers are recommending the waiting list to thousands.

"We knew it was going to be devastation on the first day because serving 12 to 15,000 and and now only have funding to serve three -- that's another 8 to 9,000 families out there trying to get their names on the waiting list," Johnson said.

This year, workers are recommending the waiting list to thousands.

"We haven't even been able to serve all of our seniors who have called; we actually ran out of funds by the middle of November," Johnson said.

Johnson says at that point, there's not a whole lot that can be done.

"Continue to try make arrangements with their vendors," she said. "Some of the vendors, during this time of year, they are working with the clients."

There's a possibility that they will receive more money, but they don't have details as to if, when, or how much.

So for Roberson, all she left with Friday was hope that with this winter, she and thousands others aren't left in the cold.


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