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Evansville Residents Struggling to Receive Heating Assistance

As the pandemic continues its economic assault on the tri-state - the number of those fighting to keep the lights on is growing.

Posted: Jan 25, 2021 7:54 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2021 9:18 PM

If you call the Community Action Program of Evansville or CAPE -- right now in January 2021, you'll get an outdated message that says "You have reached the energy assistance information only line -- today is May 19, 2020."

The automated response -- ends with a prompt to call someone else -- another dead end.

"I've not heard a word from anyone down there," said Evansville resident Sheryl Hoosier.

And the silence is defeaning.

"I would appreciate some kind of response or hearing something," said Evansville resident Elfia Harper. "It would be a big help because I live on a fixed income."

Now on CAPE's voicemail -- they also say if you need help immediately you can call a church or the Salvation Army.

But the issue is they are also dealing with staffing shortages and not being able to help people the way they normally would.

"Churches -- I don't even think they can help themselves," said Evansville resident Jewel Guller said. "I don't know what churches are doing -- they are probably having a hard time too."

Dozens of people have reached out to 44News to describe their issues with CAPE -- the only answer they tell us -- they've gotten is that a small staff is backlogged in processing applications.

Our attemps to reach CAPE -- went unanswered as well.

But Vectren says -- they are willing to work with people, especially as temperatures continue to drop.

"We would work with that customers in terms of their bill in terms of how we can assist them with arrangements or an extension," said Alyssia Oshodi, the communications specialist with Vectren.

But for many residents -- they need help now -- rather than later.

"Give people an update -- you know -- we're in limbo," Hoosier said. "This is the winter time -- people need help with their light bills."

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The sunshine and heat will be abundant through the Tri State for next week. The mercury will be in a steady incline from the lower to mid 90s each afternoon through midweek.
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