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Preston agencies can provide help with winter fuel, utility bills

KINGWOOD — Now is the time to begin thinking about winter heating.

“Even though it’s warmer, now is the time to prepare for the cold weather ahead,” Alix Evans, director of the Catholic Charities Raymond Wolfe Center, said.

Don Maleta, outreach coordinator for the Raymond Wolfe Center, said funds are now available for low income families for fuel. He said this includes wood and coal.

“Most of our fuel monies go to metered bills like electric and gas,” Evans said. “Most of our poorest people need wood and coal. Grant money from Your Community Foundation (YCF) allows us to pay for wood and coal.”

Maleta said this year Raymond Wolfe received funds from YCF, I-Partners, Emergency Food and Shelter Program Phase 37 (EFSP), and the Corona Virus Aide Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).

“Some of the programs have really strict guidelines,” Maleta said. “Anyone interested in help needs to call us before they come in.”
He said during the call he will tell the client what information they will need to bring to the office, and he will schedule an appointment for them.

Maleta said each program has its own guidelines.

“For example, I-Partners will pay up to $500,” he said. “But the client wanting help has to validate they have spent $150 of their own money on the bill within the last 90 days.”

Maleta said clients can only receive help from I-Partners once a year.

For a client to qualify for the assistance programs he or she must qualify under Federal Income Guidelines. The guidelines explain how much income a client can make and still qualify for various programs.

Evans said clients also have to have received a termination notice from their utility provider.

“I’ve been doing this (fuel program) for about seven years,” Maleta said. “It’s very important to get everything correct. It takes about an hour to finalize an application if everything is in order, and a lot more time if something is illegible or missing.”

He said each year Raymond Wolfe serves about 120 clients with energy fuel assistance.

Maleta said this is done in cooperation with other agencies that also provide heating, food, pet food and other emergency assistance.

To contact Catholic Charities Raymond Wolfe for an appointment call 304-329-3644.

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