CANI Offers Assistance to Electric Bills During Sweltering Heat

By Rachel Martin

July 16, 2013 Updated Jul 17, 2013 at 6:37 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – The heat and humidity won't be going away any time soon, and many in the city are looking for relief.

So far, there are no cooling centers open around Fort Wayne, but there are some alternatives to finding some relief from the heat.

CANI, or Community Action of Northeast Indiana, offers what they call the "Summer Cool" program. It’s a program that helps families below the poverty level pay for a portion of their electric utility bill, and it is offered during the summer and winter months.

CANI President and CEO, Steven Hoffman, says they’ve been offering the assistance program since the 1980's. He says they’re able to do it through federal grants, donations and fundraisers. So far CANI has helped about 10,000 and Hoffman says there’s enough funding left over this year to help 1,200—1,500 more families.

“This year it's a $75 benefit, which is a little bit bigger than normal. As long as they qualify, they're below a 150 percent of poverty, they'll get that $75 credit on their electric and it'll help to pay for those cooling expenses that they have,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman says a family of three who makes roughly $30 thousand a year would be considered 150 percent below poverty, and would qualify for the $75 credit to their electric bill.

However, if families don't qualify, officials suggest going to a public place, like the Allen County Public Library or the mall, to cool down and take advantage of some air conditioning in this intense heat.

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