Engergy Assistance When You Need It Most!
As the temperature continues to drop, utility bills continue to rise. After paying off bills, there can be little left in the budget for people to purchase food, winter clothing, healthcare, and many other basic needs. According to the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, 33% of adults in Olmsted County report being financially stressed. Out of those who report financial stress, 22% of people report their financial stress comes from utility bills.
Fortunately, there are resources available to help. One such program is the Energy Assistance Program operated by Three Rivers Community Action. The federally funded program is available for low-income individuals in our community to help pay their utility bills during the winter. According to Lynette Stott, who manages the program out of the Olmsted County office, “this financial assistance helps people living on a fixed income to be able to save that money to spend on food, prescriptions, or other necessities.” The energy assistance program helps keep community members from more severe financial stress.
The application is available in person at any of the Three Rivers Community Action offices (Rochester, Zumbrota, Faribault, and Wabasha) or online. The application takes into consideration an applicant's overall sources of income and the amount of money it takes to heat the home. ￼Energy assistance awarded to the household from Three Rivers is then directly to the company that provides electricity and/or heat to the home.
"Only ¼ of eligible households in Minnesota apply for this service, so we are always aiming to make sure people know it is available and that they can apply. Many people don’t realize that this is available to both homeowners and renters,” says Lynette.
At United Way of Olmsted County, our mission is to connect people and resources to improve lives in our community. This year, pledge to connect people in Olmsted County to life-changing resources like the energy assistance program by giving, advocating, or volunteering with organizations that make a difference. To learn about energy assistance and other life-changing resources, please call 211, anytime and in any language.