Snowstorm leaves Missourians seeking help for cost of heating

Feb 28, 2013

The recent snowstorm has left thousands throughout the state needing assistance with their heating bills.

The Missouri Association for Community Action runs a government-funded institution called The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people pay their utilities.

The program has seen budget cuts in recent years and the recent weather has meant an increased demand for services. Executive Director Elaine West says this combination has put huge pressure on local programs.

“Funds are limited,” West said. “And right now a lot of agencies are out of money.”

West says people are now being put on waiting lists for more assistance, some of which include over a thousand people.

They will continue to be on the waiting list until new government funding is released but they will not have their utilities disconnected right now because of the Missouri Cold Weather rule.  The rule ensures that utilities will not be shut off when the temperature is forecasted to be below thirty two degrees Fahrenheit.

But West says that when the temperature increases, more people on that waiting list will probably have their services disconnected.