Dropping Temperatures, Rising Propane Costs Add to Heating Assis - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Dropping Temperatures, Rising Propane Costs Add to Heating Assistance Demand

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January 3, 2014 -

As temperatures fall, heating bills rise.

Right now, people in Northern Michigan are going through propane twice as fast and the cost of propane is going up.

Mother Nature's cold spell is putting the pressure on organizations like Father Fred and the Salvation Army.

These agencies expect to provide heating assistance, but this winter season is already making budgets tight for the rest of the year.

The influx in families needing help can only be blamed partly on the weather.

In the fall the Department of Human Services changed the way utility assistance was distributed.

So Father Fred started seeing requests for utility assistance back in October.

But now that costs are up and temperatures are down, the number in need is causing a state-wide jam in the system.

And if people wait to call for help, they could face several nights or even weeks living without heat in dangerously cold conditions.

9&10's Marisa McKay and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson spoke to the non-profits to find out how the rest of the year will look if this immediate problem becomes a long term issue.