MADISON COUNTY, Ind. - A unique assistance program in Madison County offers residents a chance to help those who may need assistance with their utility bills during extreme temperatures.
As sub-zero temps linger, resident Lori Summer's furnace has been working overtime to heat her home, but it's also burning through her budget. Her recent utility bill was double what she normally pays.
"The furnace is going almost continuously. It doesn't shut off but for maybe a second then it comes right back on again. We're able to cover (the bills) for now, but I've already looked into getting assistance for it," Summer said.
The United Way of Madison County has a special fund to help residents with higher utility bills.
President Nancy Vaughan helps run the Friend to Friend utility assistance program.
"These are desperate times," Vaughan said. "We have a very high demand for utility assistance in Madison County. We have a lot of older houses and the low-income population in particular tends to live in housing that's not really energy efficient."
Vaughan said the fund currently holds about $12,000, but that supply that may not meet demand.
"Our goal is always to get to April. At the rate we're going, we're not going to get to April. We're not going to get to March," she said.