GETCAP using federal funding to help E. Texas communities

By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - This summer's heat wave is felt in two ways. First the discomfort. Second the electric bill. The Greater East Texas Community Action wants folks to act now in applying for financial aid.

"It was very hot in early June. We had 100-degree days and now those bills are starting to roll in and they are absolutely off the charts," said Karen Swenson, the executive director for Greater East Texas Community Action.

Case managers are the first to deal with clients in dire straits.

"They're not sure if they're going to be able to pay their bill or not and if we're going to have funds available," said Case Manager Maria Gallegos.

Fortunately, the Greater East Texas Community Action program has received an additional $2 million, bringing financial assistance funds to over $3 million. In addition, the income guideline has been raised.

"This means a family of four making $42,000 a year or less may in fact qualify for assistance," said Swenson.

Hundreds of thousands of people in a 13-county region will qualify. They're the ones benefiting from donated fans.

"We're gong to take about 25 to Jacksonville and we're taking the rest of it to Tyler," said Roy Mils with GETCAP.

Fans help, but the fear is people won't be able to use them or air conditioners if they wait too late to call for assistance.

"People die because of heat exhaustion and because of heat stroke. Don't wait until your lights are turned off. Please call in advance," said Swenson.

The local office numbers:

Smith:  903-592-3828   Cherokee:     903-589-5060

Gregg: 903-758-5674   Wood:           903-763-4511

Rusk:   903-657-9472   Angelina:       936-639-4787

Trinity: 936-642-1462   San Jacinto:  936-653-2342

Nacogdoches: 936-564-2491  Polk:   936-327-3011

Or:  800-621-5746

GETCAP programs are available to all regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.

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