Organizations available to help with heating assistance - WNEM TV 5

Organizations available to help with heating assistance

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With the winter chill in full bloom, furnaces are being put to the test. But the heat they generate doesn't come for free.

Those utility bills can be so high they leave some customers in the cold.

"My feet were froze. My hands were froze," said Sheila Burk, single mom.

When her power got shut of on Wednesday, Burk was left out in the cold. Her heat was also turned off, leaving her and her son with special needs freezing inside their home.

Thanks to some local resources, her power and heat are back up and running.

Burk was also connected with a worker from the Disabilities Network to help her in the future.

"Last year we had several thousand calls for information or referral for community resources," said Andrea Sneller, program manager for the Disabilities Network of Mid-Michigan.

Sneller sees situations like Burk's all the time. She said they are able to help, whether it's through their programs or connecting them with another community organization.

"When the person calls in they may think they're calling in for one specific need, but when we start talking to them we really go into that variety of needs," Sneller said.

Many people may not be aware they can dial 211 on their phone and be connected to a slew of resources.

"24 hours a day. It's confidential, free and it's as easy as remembering three digits," said Sarah Kyle, with 211.

Kyle said their number one call this time of year is asking for assistance with utilities. Whether it's setting it up, helping pay for it or turning it on.

They can also help with housing, transportation, food and so much more.

"We live in a place where we can't not have the heat on right now. Our bills start to pile up with Christmas. We have more expenses. So people go without or turn it down when there may be resources available," Kyle said.

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