Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

How to Keep Your Utilities On

Where to turn for emergency (or non-emergency) help paying heat and electric bills.

There are several programs that help qualified Milwaukee County residents cover a part of their energy bills. File photo by Brittany Carloni/NNS.

There are several programs that help qualified Milwaukee County residents cover a part of their energy bills. File photo by Brittany Carloni/NNS.

Over the next couple of months, some families may find themselves strapped for cash when it comes to paying their utility bills. Heat, water and electricity are essential for a quality life anytime of the year, but during a Wisconsin winter, they are non-negotiable.

Below is a list of places and organizations that can assist low-income individuals or families when it comes to paying their utility bills.

Urgent Assistance:

1. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps meet the immediate home energy needs of low-income families, individuals and households living in poverty. For assistance, call (608) 267-3680 or (866) 432-8947. Its hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2. Milwaukee County Energy Assistance: Benefits season program

Each year, during benefits season, the program helps qualified county residents cover a part of their energy bills after they apply for a one-time payment. Benefits season runs from Oct. 1, 2019, through May 15, 2020. The program is run by Community Advocates, which can be reached at (414) 270-4653. It has several locations and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

North Side: 6918 W. Brown Deer Rd.

Northwest: 4906 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

Downtown: 728 N. James Lovell St.

South Side: 5663 S. 27th St.

Southeast: 2701 S. Chase Ave.

3. Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program: Crisis program

You can apply for emergency financial assistance under the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. For help, call the 24-hour crisis line at (866) 432-8947.

Nonurgent Assistance:

1. Milwaukee County Energy Assistance Program

In addition to the emergency assistance, Community Advocates runs a year-round program. Qualified individuals can receive help paying their bills, making repairs or upgrades to their homes or furnaces and stay connected. To learn more, call (414) 270-4653.

2. Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program: General assistance

Low-income homeowners can receive help for the following situations throughout the year if their boilers or furnaces are out of operation, or they need general heating bill assistance. The program offers cash payments and grants to cover repairs, helps make a one-time payment to cover a part of the costs, and also gives suggestions regarding money management and fuel costs reduction. Call (866) 432-8947 for more information.

For more information, check out the Journal Sentinel’s article on crisis utility assistance.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

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