Utility assistance programs help south-central Kansans

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Swings in the weather or unforeseen family events can have an effect on your family’s utility bills. If you’re struggling to keep the lights on or the water running, help is available.

The Salvation Army has several utility assistance programs, and emergency social services director Jill Skaggs says she has some federal dollars available right now.

“We need to be able to see what’s past due, what’s current, how much can you pay maybe and what we’ll be able to assist with,” Skaggs said Wednesday.

Those seeking assistance are encouraged to visit their neighborhood Salvation Army (there are three locations in Wichita) and bring identification and proof of income for every member of the household, as well as the utility bill in question.

For children, a birth certificate, social security card or school ID card will suffice.

“They do need to have some way to continue those payments, people that are employed, receiving unemployment, or on some sort of disability or government funds,” Skaggs said.

Through the cold winter months, utility companies fall under the Cold Weather Rule, so utility companies cannot turn off anyone’s services. Even if funds are tight, Skaggs recommends trying to pay some amount of the bill on time so that when the Cold Weather Rule ends, agencies aren’t left trying to assist clients with large bills.

Call the Salvation Army at (316) 263-2769 for more information.

The United Way provides a list of tips as well as a budget worksheet if you are struggling to keep up with bills.

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