Local News

Fund to Help Pay Utility Bills Runs Out of Money

Posted April 10, 2008

— A fund to help low-income households pay their utility bills has run out of money, according to the Durham County Department of Social Services (DSS).

Administrators of the Crisis Intervention Program have spent $882,560.33 allocated by the federal government for this fiscal year, which ends June 30. That level funding was the most ever granted to CIP.

CIP has served 1,918 households since July 1, 2007. DSS officials said rising gas and food prices have created more demand for CIP's help.

“We are hopeful that the NC Division of Social Services will be able to reallocate more CIP funds," DSS Director Sammy R. Haithcock said. "During hard economic times such as these, CIP funds are crucial to help families fill the hardship gap to pay their bills to keep the lights on and heat in their homes."

Emergency Energy Funds are still available for Duke Energy customers who meet certain income guidelines to pay their past-due bills. Duke Energy provides those funds to DSS.

To make an appointment to ask for Emergency Energy Funds, adults with children should call DSS at 919-560-8301. Adults without children should call 919-560-8600.


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  • whatelseisnew Apr 10, 2008

    I am not a fan of these type of programs either. When you look at the math even assuming every single dollar gets spent on the bills it averages out to 460 dollars per household.
    Phil, I hear ya on the minimum wage, but you might be leaving a few things out. If both you and your wife earn minimum wage then there are all kinds of assistance programs you qualify to get. At tax time with 3 kids, you would qualify for EIC so not only would you get every penny in federal tax back that you paid, you would get probably 2 to 3 thousand additional dollars. Now maybe you are old school like myself. I have never applied for or received government assistance dollars, because I well understand that it is money being taken from someone else. I also believe I am responsible for my personal needs and the personal needs of my family.

  • phil Apr 10, 2008

    its not about making wise decisions or not it is simple fact that some people dont make enough money in this high priced world that we live in.ya i drive a clunker and live in a apartment and have a small tv and guess what my wife and i both work and have 3 children to feed and put clothes on we dont buy things we dont need due to the fact we cant afford to we live on the bare nessities,why because minium wage is just a joke and that they tax the heck out of,so now you have it,besides the fact 40% of the people in this world live below the porerty level to begin with.places that help people pay bills should be there for the city and its people however it should not be abused like it is.

  • phil Apr 10, 2008

    well if they would stop taking so much taxes maybe people could afford to pay for these things

  • miketroll3572 Apr 10, 2008

    Right on Readme, and guess where this money comes from?

  • FromClayton Apr 10, 2008

    and for the record I agree with readme. There is a program at High Point Regional Hospital called LoveLine that helps pay bills and keep a roof over the heads of people who have cancer and CAN NOT work due to chemo. That's different. Anyone without severe medical conditions should either be able to keep the lights on, or should downsize and sell some stuff. Like that new Caddy.

    If they have severe medical conditions then by all means, help your neighbor out. Other than that, they need to make wise decisions.

  • readme Apr 10, 2008

    I don't believe in government subsidies like this anyway. They look good on paper and when everyone gets emotional. But in reality, this just helps people live beyond their means and not try to stretch their budget. There are many poor people that drive newer cars than me and have more square footage than me and have a bigger TV than me. Forcing them to spend their own money forces them to cut back where they need to. I think there are very few people that, if they make the right choices, couldn't keep a roof over their head and the heat on.

  • Golo Drama Queen Apr 10, 2008

    well shucks