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As temperatures drop, heating becomes a concern for some families

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This year has been a busy one for those at the Social Services office. High demand for assistance is placing added pressure on a limited staff.

“The impact has been on the staff, because we’ve not gotten additional staff to respond to that increase in the number of people applying for assistance,” said Sam Lane of NHC Social Services.

Registration is underway for the federal energy assistance program. The program helps families pay the bills when the temperature drops. That means, now even more people are streaming in for help, and there are many who have not needed assistance in the past.

“Some were two income households where both have lost their jobs, or one has lost their job or the other has had their hours reduced significantly. They’re under a lot of stress,” Lane said.

This federally funded program was established in 1982 and distributes more than four billion dollars a year to families in need.

Those who qualify for the energy program will receive a check in the mail some time in February, and at this rate, the money will go fast.

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must first pass a series of income requirements. Registration for the program runs through next Friday.

You can find out more about the program by visiting http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/energy/index.htm

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videoWith the temperatures dropping, it is time to start thinking about heating our homes. It can be costly, but there is help available for those who qualify. Monday was the first day for families to register for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

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