Elderly homebound citizens try to get energy assistance this win - WRBL

Elderly homebound citizens try to get energy assistance this winter

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Energy assistance programs are gearing up for winter across the nation, but one woman in Alabama is learning that there is no grant funding available to help her.

In Phenix City 68-year-old Katherine Anderson lives alone with congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, among other ailments. She is the ideal candidate for energy assistance, but Russell County is out of funds.

"I get my social security, and then I get a little small pension of $169," says Anderson, "and with the two I just barely make it through with the lights and buying food and paying the mortgage."

Anderson has tried to get help from the Community Action Partnership in Phenix City before, but she was ineligible because she lived with her son. Times were tough then but now that he's moved out, she's in dire straits.

"With his income gone it's really been difficult," she says.

A message on the agency's phone line says currently there is no grant funding for energy assistance, but to call back weekly.

In Columbus energy assistance is based on grant funding also, but the hotlines are open for homebound applicants 65 and older to set up an appointment.

Enrichment Services Program helps 5,000 people yearly in eight Georgia counties. This is the first year the agency has set up an automated phone system to take calls in lieu of two people answering the multitude of inquiries.

Anderson says she'll be patient and wait on Alabama's help, but she's optimistic that it will happen before it gets too cold.

"It's just a blessing to know that there is help that would help the elderly," says Anderson, "and especially those that cannot maintain like they used to when they were younger."

The number for Community Action Partnership in Phenix City is (334) 298-6614, but keep in mind funding is not available at this time.

If you're trying to get help in Georgia that phone number is 1(800) 704-3567.

An Enrichment Services Program representative urges everyone to be patient with the new system, and if you come to an appointment with incomplete documents or miss your appointment time, you will be asked to call the number and schedule another time.

For other questions about how the program works, call Markellila Lee at (706) 221-6677.

Appointments in Georgia start next Tuesday for the elderly homebound. For other low-income families, you'll have to wait until Dec. 1.

We'll keep you updated on when Alabama gets funding.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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