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HBPW gets CARES funds for Ralls County Customers, other energy assistance available as well

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HANNIBAL, Mo (WGEM) -- If you're worried about turning on the heat because you can't afford it due to CVOID-19, there is help in Northeast Missouri.

You will have to act fast to get it, though.

Hannibal Board of Public Works [HBPW] officials said they now have $4,000 of CARES Act funds from Ralls County Commissioners to help assist Ralls County customers struggling with their bills. Turns out, that isn't the only help that's available right now in Northeast Missouri.

Andrea Campbell at HBPW said it's difficult to know how many people are struggling.

"It's hard to measure the issue because everyone needs reliable utilities. So, while we're delivering those utilities, we're thankful we can offer some kind of assistance in the interim," said Campbell.

She said that's why they're asking any Ralls County customer, who needs help, to call the board of public works office if they're struggling.

"This doesn't have any kind of income restriction," Campbell said. "If you have been impacted by COVID through increased expenses, maybe you're paying more for child care or more for groceries because you're home more, we just want to help you get those utility bills paid."

If you don't fit into that category, however, officials at the Northeast Community Action Corporation said there are still more than a $1 million of summer energy assistance funds available through the end of the month.

"For the month of October, we received the OK to increase the income guidelines from 135 percent to 15 percent, which reaches out to a lot more people that previously were over income," said NECAC deputy director for community services Janice Robinson.

She said as the winter energy assistance starts, there will be $600,000 less in their funds.

"We just urge everyone not to wait until the last minute to get their bills in," Robinson said. "If you know you're not going to be able to pay that bill, get with us a week early or as soon as you get that bill."

She added that they hope to roll over some of the summer funds into the winter funds, but they aren't sure if that will be possible yet.

HBPW officials said they have finished allocating the $90,000 of CARES Act funds given to them by Marion County commissioners for utility assistance in Hannibal this week.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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