Region 8 organization offers electric bill assistance

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - For some households the costs of keeping cool can quickly spiral out of control during these hot summer days.

One Region 8 organization has help for those in need of utility bill assistance.

The Black River Area Development Corporation, or B.R.A.D, covers Randolph, Clay and Lawrence counties.

Today is the first day for the summertime Home Energy Assistance Program .

In this economy especially you know with the jobs. This area especially, there's not a lot of work here. So yes it's very important that people get assistance with their energy needs.>

The energy assistance program for BRAD covers 3 counties. Randolph, Clay and Lawrence.

There are 2 types of assistance available.

Program Director Jean Oakes explained.

"We have regular assistance which means they do not have to have a shut off notice. We also have emergency assistance, if they have a shut off notice, if they need services restored or we can help with the deposit."

Like any other assistance there is paperwork you have to fill out. Fortunately they have a checklist so you know what you have to bring.

There are 3 brad offices located in Corning, Walnut Ridge and Pocahontas. One major requirement you have to have is.

Oakes, "They must be a resident in the county they apply in and they must meet the resource guidelines."

This is only the second year the summer program has been offered. The Winter assistance program usually has a large draw.

Executive Director Jim Jansen, "About 2500 families in Clay, Lawrence and Randolph counties for the regular assistance and about 700 families that have the shut off notices."

Oakes said that even though Tuesday was the first day for the program the response has been amazing.

"It's about what we expected since we have been receiving calls ever since we shut the winter program down on June 4th. So we know there is a great need out there it's about what we expected there is a lot of people in need."

This program is for one time assistance only and at the moment BRAD officials are not sure exactly how much money they have to spend so it really is first come, first served.

Starlene Buhler told me it was a fairly easy process and having that extra help made it possible for her to purchase other things she needed.

"This will pay my electric bill and I'll be able to buy my kids school clothes for next year. This next month so that will help with the school clothes."

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