“I needed it!” Community Advocates sees 15% increase in those needing energy assistance this winter

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MILWAUKEE -- We've seen bitterly cold, sub-zero temperatures and wind chills this winter, and the cost of heating and furnace repairs can be crippling for some -- but there is help available.

Victoria Oliver

Victoria Oliver

Victoria Oliver is one of those who has taken advantage of the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, or WHEAP.

"Very happy -- because I needed it. It actually helps me out so I won't have to put so much on my We Energies bills," Oliver said.

Maudwella Kirkendoll with Community Advocates said energy assistance is a benefit for people who have difficulty keeping up with their energy bills.

Energy assistance

"It`s a one-time payment for people who have a utility bill in their name. The payment can range on average from $400 to $500 per year," Kirkendoll said.


The program bridges payments and also facilitates a response in times of crisis.

"We are also seeing an increased number of calls for no heat situations -- where we are able to assist in getting furnaces repaired or replaced," Kirkendoll said.

If you're eligible, and your furnace stopped working and you have no money to fix it, you can call Community Advocates.

Energy assistance

"We will make a referral for the furnace repair or replacement. If it's after hours, we will work to make sure the family or household is safe by either assisting them with getting to a safe location or proving supplemental heat in the interim," Kirkendoll said.

Energy assistance

This winter, it appears the need is great.

"We`ve seen 35,000 households -- which comes to a 15 to 16% increase in the number of people served in comparison to last year," Kirkendoll said.

Energy assistance

Community Advocates officials are urging homeowners to take advantage of this program.

Typically, it takes about 24 to 48 hours for the furnace to be repaired -- so you shouldn't waste time if you're in need.

CLICK HERE for everything you need to know about energy assistance and Community Advocates.


  • Jenny

    Its seems the harder you work to pay your bills they keep increasing and nothing is left over. I hate when someone else is getting, free phone, rent, education, school lunch, energy assistance and then they talk about their expensive trip to the salon to get their nails and hair done. Really fuming about that extra cost on my bill that I have to pay so they can get their free juice.

    • 2017willbebetter

      You nailed it. When I was a kid those of us who had little to no money did not have mommies who went to the salon, daddies getting new tattoos or twinkies and soda. You went without and paid your actual needs.

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