TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – The harsh winter meant millions of dollars spent to help families in Indiana stay warm, and now with the dog days of summer here — there’s no money left for the summer cooling program.
About 4,000 families in Tippecanoe, Clinton, Carroll and White counties rely on monthly credits from the Area IV Agency to help pay for those bills.
“They will not see that this year. Because with the winter that we had, we spent extra funding in the winter. So, there’s not enough funding for the whole state to do the summer cool program,” Energy Assistance Program coordinator Kim Widner said.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program spent $47.8 million to help pay winter heating bills. Leaving no money for the summer cooling program. The Area IV Agency distributed $1.4 million to help with winter bills.
“We’ll have crisis assistance available for those clients who are in danger of having their utilities disconnected from the high bills that they had this past winter,” Widner said.
With no money coming in through Area IV, Lafayette Urban Ministry executive director Joe Micon expects to see more people going to LUM for help.
“We will see a lot of people coming to us. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to serve them all,” Micon said. “We’re at our limit now.”
Micon said LUM and Area IV are the only agencies in the community that offer emergency assistance for utilities and LUM has already seen a five percent increase in families needing help. Micon said of the $50,000 LUM has for utility assistance, nearly $23,000 has been used this year.
“When that money is gone, it’s gone,” Micon said. “We wish we had more to help, but we don’t. We wish there was more in the community through Area IV and the LIHEAH program to help. That is a huge loss to us, and I just don’t know what people are going to do this summer.”
There’s not a summer cooling program, but Area IV is helping families prepare for next winter. Widner said for the first time, Area IV is having a summer fill program to fill LP gas tanks while the cost is low.
“We had a shortage of LP gas this winter, and we’re anticipating another shortage coming this winter. So, we want our clients to be prepared and have their tanks already full,” Widner said.
Widner said Area IV also has window air conditioners for people with medical conditions. To find out about that program and others at Area IV, click here.
For more information on programs available at LUM, click here.