Continued cold conditions are leading to an increase in demand for energy assistance. However, unlike last year, officials with Multi-County Community Service Agency say they are prepared to meet the growing needs.
From September to December in 2012, five counties that are served by Multi-County Community Service agency ran out of funds for energy assistance. This year, agency officials say they're working hard to ensure that doesn't happen.
'I'm making a special effort so that we don't run out. We've put together a spending plan by counties," says Shirley Deville, who is MCCSA's Community Service Director.
As part of that plan, case workers for each of the 9 counties the agency serves are provided a listing of the average amount of money they should allocate each month to clients. Stressing that MCCSA is committed to providing assistance to people in need, Deville says that the monthly plan is to be used strictly as a guide.
"Normally what I would do, if a county goes over this month they have to slack off a little bit next month and get on target again because we do not want the counties to run out of money."
For the first two months of this year, MCCSA's energy assistance program used 14% of the $1.6 million it has for direct client services.
"So far, as you can see by our 'plan versus performance' (spreadsheet) some counties are over a little bit and some have an under spending rate and it kind of balances itself out," says Deville.
With the new plan in place Deville is optimistic that both the overspending and under spending rates will continue to balance throughout the end of this year.
In all, MCCSA's energy assistance program has been allocated more than $1.7 million for this year. Agency officials say roughly 90% of that will go directly to clients, and the remainder will be used for supplies and salaries.