INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the temperature drops, the cost of heating your home rises. With soaring energy prices, that cost is expected to be even higher this year.
It could mean more people seeking help and more pressure on organizations providing relief.
“The trendline is up, especially since the pandemic,” St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis executive director Peter Zubler said.
Residents of Indianapolis who rely on natural gas to heat their homes will likely see higher bills this winter, according to Citizens Energy Group.
“A lot of people are looking for help they never think they need, that’s why we’re bringing in people we’ve never seen before and the numbers are starting to go up,” said Nicholas Calvert, career coach at the John Boner Community Center.
Organizations like the Edna Martin Christian Center in collaboration with John Boner Community Centeras good as Saint Vincent de Paul Indianapolis who provide energy assistance say the calls are pouring in.
“We receive thousands of calls every month and of those we are probably able to service the hundreds of families who call and ask for help, but our resources are limited,” Zubler said.
Citizens Energy Group says it expects natural gas heating bills to rise an average of $18 a month during the five-month winter heating season.
The company says prices have risen since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“There’s inflation and with inflation there’s not necessarily a pay rise, so people are more in a hole earning the same amount of money when everything goes up,” he said. said Calvert.
The St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis says that on average they are able to provide over $200 per family household.
This number could drop as more people seek help.
“It really depends on demand, so the number of people in desperate need of help really dictates how much on average we’re able to distribute per household,” Zubler said.
They depend on donations from the community to help as many people as possible.
“If donations allow us to directly support rental assistance and utility assistance, that number can of course change,” Zubler said.
If you need help, you can contact the Marion County Energy Assistance Program. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2023.
Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis, Peter Zubler:
“Our data indicates that approximately $450,000 in utility assistance was provided by St. Vincent de Paul to Indianapolis households over a 12-month period. This represents only a fraction of the existing needs. To realistically reduce the demand for help, we would need to increase our donations by 10 times that number. We also know that many households, especially as winter approaches, will forgo paying their rent to keep their heat on. During the same 12 month period, Saint Vincent de Paul also provided $145,000 in housing assistance/eviction prevention in these situations. The two really go together. In summary, between housing assistance and utility assistance, we have distributed nearly $600,000 in total to help prevent a catastrophic event, such as the loss of a utility and/or expulsion, does not occur. Again, this only answers a fraction of support requests.
To donate to St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis, you can visit his website or call 317-921-1405. For those who need help, you should call the organization‘s helpline at 317-687-0169 in English or 317-687-0167 in Spanish.