Heating assistance program attracts thousands - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Heating assistance program attracts thousands

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –This cold weather means its time to turn up the heat. This morning, hundreds of people stood in line to get some assistance with their energy bills.

It was busy outside the Dougherty County Neighborhood service center this morning. Hundreds of folks bundled up in coats and blankets, stood in line for hours and some even spent the night. "We had people on the porch starting at four o'clock before we even closed," said Natasha Dawson.

That's because Georgia's regular energy assistance program opened to the public today and all of these folks are hoping to get some help with their heating costs. "We are giving out assistance for 350 dollars or 310 dollars," said Dawson.

Its a program that basis eligibility on a persons household income. By lunchtime, more than 2,000 people had already been placed on the waiting list. One of those people was Johnny Warren, and he says he hasn't had any electricity for three months now, "You have to use candlelight," he said.

He says sometimes it can get pretty tough, but he makes it through," I think about my forefathers, they had kerosene lamps and candlelight and they survived," he said.

And he and hundreds of others are hoping they get the assistance they need this winter. "This will help me a whole lot, this will bring me out of the darkness," he said.

Names will be added to the list until the end of the month.

Last year they were able to help more than 2,500 people with their heating costs. Since its on a first come first serve basis those people who were first in line will be the first ones to be called back for an appointment.

Applicants have to provide identification, proof of income, and identification for all who reside in their household.

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