Heating help questionable for those in need

INDIANA -- As the temperature drops, Hoosiers in need of assistance in paying their heating bills are in the dark about how much the government will shell out.

While the uncertainty remains, families who might have trouble paying their gas and electric bills this winter should start planning and budgeting, since Congress has not said when a decision will be made.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority did set aside $25 million from its carry-over and reserve funds, but that is not  close to enough considering last year it handed out a whopping $107 million to about 170,000 households.
The number of people in need could increase this winter, as well, since Indiana’s unemployment rate has been on the rise for four straight months, and is now at 8.9 percent for September.
But, there could be a hint of relief, since Indiana’s major natural gas companies said they expect rates to stay flat or lower slightly compared to last winter. In terms of electric utilities, however, the state’s major companies said bills could increase for Hoosiers.

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