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LIHEAP helps with heating

SPRINGFIELD -- As temperatures fall, more of us are cranking on the heat. Many people need help paying for it.
SPRINGFIELD -- As temperatures fall, more of us are cranking on the heat. Many people need help paying for it.

"I tell people, 'unless you been in my shoes, don't tell me what it's like.'"

For Ida Jackson times are lean.

"You know you're getting to the place you got to decide, 'am I going to keep my phone on, am I going to keep my cable on, or am I going to drive my car or am I going to let my car sit?'"

The 75-year old lives off of Social Security, but it barely covers the bills.

"Our utilities have jumped."

But Jackson could get some relief this winter for her heating costs. She's eligible for the state's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, better known as Illinois LIHEAP. It will help cover her heating costs.

"Oh, I really am grateful because it saves. I mean now that means I got extra money to buy food."

Sharmin Doering runs Sangamon County’s program. She says Jackson’s story is not unique.

"We see a lot of our seniors struggling to meet their basic needs."

But it's not just seniors, 4,500 households were given LIHEAP assistance in Sangamon County alone last year. Doering says she's seen more applications than ever before.

"The cost of living is much higher than it was. It increases every year."

Even though demand for help is growing, LIHEAP is still receiving the same amount of funding, so all this help is first come, first served.

"We have priority populations and those are populations that are most vulnerable and they include seniors."

That's why people are urged to schedule appointments as soon as possible.
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