Local Help Agencies Running on Low Money

Local Help Agencies Running on Low Money
By: Wes Wallace

Cape Girardeau, MO - With the recent spell of mild weather, most people probably haven't had the need to turn up or turn down the thermostat in their home. Hopefully, that means some relatively low utility bills in the meantime, but what about those still paying those winter home heating bills?

If you're like Harold and Mary Ann Inloes of Cape Girardeau, you might get your electricity cut off.

"They came and shut it off today," says Harold, "We just didn't have the money to pay for the bill."

That bill is for more than $2,300. While Inloes didn't say exactly how the total got so high, he did explain that he and his wife are on a fixed income and have a lot of health problems. With no electricity the couple says they're not sure what to do, since they can't get any help anywhere they look. "We've called the Salvation Army, we've called the Missouri Action Agency, and they say they have no money," says Inloes.

With more than four pages of names on a waiting list for help, Harold Inloes is not alone. "There's definitely funding out there, but right now there's just not any money here," says Ken Smith, a Community Service Representative for the East Missouri Action Agency, "We don't have any funds right now for the heating or cooling assistance program."

Smith explains his office gets between 25 and 30 calls a day from people needing utility help. "When they call us, if there are other organizations with money, we try to help send them in the right direction, "says Smith, "As far as I know, the other agencies don't have any money either."

There may be some relief in sight. The Summer Cooling Program begins around the first of June.