Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary has been helping the people of Northwest Indiana to have the necessities for living safe and healthy lives for decades. For the past two years, the organization has been running their Heating Assistance program that has provided incomparable benefits for the residents of East Chicago.
In 2013, Catholic Charities applied for a program grant from FEC to run their Heating Assistance program. They received the grant and went to work.
The program was begun to help low-income residents of East Chicago who were facing having their utilities shut off because of their inability to make their payments.
To ensure that the people receiving the assistance were the ones who really needed it, Catholic Charities implemented an extensive selection process for membership into the program. First, the applicants had to prove that they had exhausted all other assistance for payment for their utilities bill. This means that they had to have applied to the township trustee for heating assistance and also to their Employee Assistance Program where they work.
The applicants also had to provide a NIPSCO bill with their name and current address on it as well as the NIPSCO notice that the utilities will be shut off. If they were selected, they had to agree to attend a financial management education class. When the process was complete, the residences that were selected had their utilities extended for 30 days. Through May of this year, a total of 175 East Chicago residences were helped by Catholic Charities’ Heating Assistance program.
Living in a home with no heat or electricity can greatly affect all other aspects of life as well. The Heating Assistance program made it easier for kids to focus in school and get their homework done and it also eliminated the need of families to relocate as a result of unpaid bills.
Catholic Charities’ Heating Assistance program funded by FEC has helped many East Chicagoans get through these long, cold winters and has made it possible for them to return to life as usual without having to worry about losing their electricity and heat.