It’s cold out there.
Many of us turn the heat up and remain cozy at home when it gets cold. But for too many Appalachian families that’s not the case. Our emergency utility assistance program has helped hundreds of families stay warm. It has helped senior citizens and families with young children to heat their home on the coldest days of winter. Sometimes they had to choose between paying their electric bill or putting food on the table.
After working with our partners over the years we’ve learned that our program also helps prevents homelessness.
In some cases, there are times that if the rent is paid in full, landlords will evict tenants who have their utilities cut off. Not only is there is a fear that pipes on their properties could freeze and burst in unheated apartments, but there is also a belief that because they could not pay their electric bill that month, they may not be able to pay their rent the next.
Parents could lose temporary custody of their children. The state human services agencies will not allow children to remain in a home without utilities. Which means that the children will be taken and put in foster care until the situation.
For most Americans, the thought of losing their home, or worse, their children, because of an unpaid electric bill is unimaginable
Not for these families.