Hundreds line up for utility assistance -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds line up for utility assistance

Jackson Street at Second Avenue in Albany Jackson Street at Second Avenue in Albany

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  We're in for the coldest temperatures of the season in the next few days. That can mean dangerous nights if you don't have electricity. Some Albanians began lining up Monday night to get help paying their utility bills.

They walked, they drove, they got lifts from friends. Hundreds of people reached out to the Dougherty County Neighborhood Service center to keep their power on and their rent paid.

Jackson Street at Second Avenue in Albany looked like a parking lot as huge crowds waited their turn for help.  "One of my friends that I saw, she said she got here at 11 last night," said Darcella Hilson.

Hundreds of people just like Hilson, stood for hours looking for help paying one of the highest bills they have.  "I'm number 524."

And there were many more behind her in line.  "'Cause that's one way I can get help and maybe I can buy groceries or pay some of my rent with that."

Her hours have been cut back at work, but many of the people in line, can't find work at all.  Henry Anderson said, "There's plenty of people looking for jobs all the time. If they can get a job. I don't think nobody wants to be down here in a line like this."

But they are. Down in line, in down times.  "These people are all looking for a little help with this, their utility bill. One of the people in this line has a utility bill upwards of $700. This one is only $216, but it's all money that's hard to come by these days."

And that's why you'll find Henry Anderson waiting his turn.  "When you need help, you got to get help wherever it comes from, so I guess they're trying to help themselves."

Keeping on the lights, and hoping there is light at the end of this dark economic tunnel. 

The Dougherty County neighborhood service center helped about 800 people and are still in the office, setting up appointments to help those in need.

The heat assistance program is based on your income. It's paid for by the federal government and takes place once a year.

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