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UPDATE: DHS Offers to Pay for Air Conditioning for Families in Need

LAWTON Okla_ Most of us are cranking up the A/C inside now that the temperatures are rising. It will mean higher cooling bills, but for those who need help paying for them, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services will come to the rescue.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or "LIHEAP" helps those families get through the summer.

Officials say the program starts in a couple of weeks and they are hoping residents who really need the help will come in and take advantage of the service.

All you have to do is meet some requirements; such as, your income needs to be below a certain amount, you will have to show them your most recent electric bill and show them where you have to spend some of your income.

"I think it's an excellent program, now a days, every little bit counts," said Crystal Lambert.

She found that out last summer. Lambert turned to the LIHEAP Program to help her pay a nearly $400 electric bill. Lambert says she will ask for help again this year, keeping her family from having to live in a potentially dangerous situation at the forefront of her mind.

"If the program, the program wasn't there for me, I honestly couldn't tell you, because there was, last summer when the heat was out of control. I have young kids and I also have a grandmother whose older and it would have been just...I couldn't tell you what I would've done," said Lambert.

Comanche County Department of Human Services Director Patsy Davis said it is people in situations like Lambert's the LIHEAP Program is targeting.

"The program is great, especially for the one's who are on a fixed income. It kind of helps them make it better through the month, I believe," said Davis.

Davis said the LIHEAP Program helps about 3,000 Southwest Oklahomans stay cool during the hot summer months. Qualified applicants receive up to $180 through the Department of Human Services.

"The government supplies so much federal funding to the state and that helps being able to allocate the funds to the citizens for help with this program," said Davis.

Both women have a message for people who feel embarrassed to turn to the LIHEAP Program for assistance.

"Come on in to apply," said Davis.

"Whatever your situation is, everybody needs a little bit of help. There is nothing wrong with that," said Lambert.

The program will start July 9th but they are taking applications now. For more information, contact your local Department of Human Services. Davis says the money doesn't have to go only toward your electric bill, if you qualify for assistance, up to $150 can also be used to help pay for a broken air conditioner.

 

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