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Department of Human Services helps pay for summer cooling

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LAWTON, Okla._Summertime means the mercury is rising and so are electric bills.

That's why the Department of Human Services wants to make sure folks don't go without air conditioning. The department has started taking applications to help low-income households pay their cooling bills.

"It gets higher and higher every year. We see more and more people come in for help," said Cindi Maguire, spokesperson for the Comanche County office of the Department of Human Services

Many look forward to fun in the sun during the summer months, but for those who struggle to make ends meet those rays could mean some serious financial strain.

"Within this program is when we actually get to see the huge energy bills that our clients have to deal with everyday. The utility bills I've seen thus far have ranged anywhere from possibly $81 to $939," said Maguire.

That's why Maguire and the Department of Human Services are helping out by lending a hand to those who need it the most. The state of Oklahoma received $17 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and that money is designed to help all walks of life with staying nice and cool during the sooner state's hottest months.

"It is a limited fund so it's one of those things where it is first come first serve," said Maguire.

For anyone interested in the program, there are a few things you’ll need to bring with you.

"They need to be aware that they need to bring in a copy of their utility bill.

We have to have income verification if they don't have an open case with us so we can explore that they do qualify within the income guidelines," said Maguire.

Maguire and other organizers welcome everyone who thinks they may qualify to apply. They say keeping the people of Comanche County safe and cool is their top priority during these summer months.

"They're wonderful. I've dealt with many counties in the past and Comanche County by far is something else. We just want to make sure they're taken care of and their family has electricity when they go home at night," said Maguire.

DHS will continue to accept applications until all of the funding is used for the year. To find out how you can apply for the energy assistance program, click here and choose the county you live in.


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