Keeping the heat on when temperatures drop

Keeping the heat on when temperatures drop

Resources available to help combat higher bills

The snow moved out of the metro Thursday morning, leaving freezing temperatures behind. When the weather takes an extreme turn, some people need help to keep the heat on.

United Way of the Midlands says nearly 17,000 people in Nebraska and western Iowa called for utility help in 2018.

“We know it’s only early February, so we’ve got a little bit more time to go with the cold weather, and so we expect people will continue to need assistance,” said 211 Data Resource Director Lindsay Paulsen.

When the temperature drops, heating bills rise, which can leave some families short on money.

“We get calls from individuals, from family members, and also from agencies or case workers who are seeking help for the people that they work with,” Paulsen said.

The United Way and 211 have resources available to help these families in need.

“They’re already stressed when they receive a high bill, so we want to be an easy number –211– that people can reach out to and we can connect them with the resources so they don’t have to make a lot of calls on their own,” Paulsen said.

This can help make the process of getting help easier.

“We have about half a dozen agencies that we can look for utility help here in Omaha, and we’ll help the caller, ask some questions, and determine what they might be eligible for to make sure we’re giving them the best referrals we can,” Paulsen said.

With the cold sticking around for a few days, 211 expects calls to keep coming in.

“Any time we have extreme cold or extreme heat, we see an increase once those bills hit the mailboxes,” Paulsen said. “So we anticipate that after this cold spell, like others, we will be receiving an increase.”

For more information, or if your family is in need of assistance, call 211 or text your zip code to 898211.