College tuition is not the only thing increasing this summer.
Folks may notice more expensive electric bills due to the increased usage of air conditioning.
Those considered to be low income households may be drowning in bills this summer, however, one program may be able to help.
Sixty-seven-year-old Wilma Ray has been with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for the last 36 years.
“It has been a world of difference,” Ray said.
She said during her time as a client, they have made large impact on her life, squashing her burdens.
“You don’t have to worry about your lights getting cut off because you’re behind on a bill. It eases everything, makes everything go smoother,” Ray explained. “Feel like you can go to them with anything, and if it’s in their power to help, they will and if its above their head, out of their scope, they’ll send you to who can.”
Logan Stout is a community service specialist at Kingsport Neighborhood Service Center, which help distribute money for electric bills.
“These clients have to be 150 percent or less of the poverty guidelines, and we do it based on the family size,” Stout said.
Stout said, during the summer and winter months, they see an increase in clients.
“We approve them from anywhere between $350-$500 in assistance, and that goes on their account,” she said.
The program is able to help clients with electric, cooling, and gas bills.
She said, “If client does not have a disconnect notice, then what we do is they fill out a regular application. They turn that in, along with the provided document.”
While most of their clients are elderly, disabled or have a child who is younger than five years old, they can also help those who have lost a job.
Logan said, “It just changes people’s lives every day.”
LIHEAP has an office in each county in Northeast Tennessee.
Every potential client must go through a screening to see if they are qualified.