INDIANAPOLIS — As many people go to crank up the heat, some are worried about the bills to come from trying to stay warm.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates there will be a 30% increase in natural gas bills, 54% increase in propane bills and 6% increase in electricity bills over last year.
"The bills are going up, but the income and funds are not," Latosha Teague, an Indianapolis mom, said.
Teague and her family are usually able to afford their bills, but they have jobs that are dependent on the market.
"My husband works construction and then I do real estate so if everything doesn't fall in line, we may not have adequate funds," she said. "When you make a certain amount of money, if you're not below the poverty line, then there's no assistance programs out here for us."
United Way of Central Indiana's Winter Assistance Fund helps make sure people like Latosha get the help they sometimes need. It's geared toward household struggling to afford increase utility costs, but don't qualify for the government's low-income energy assistance program.
Quiana Woolridge is another person receiving help through the Winter Assistance Fund.
"Sometimes it feels like we're in between a rock and hard place because we make too much money to get assistance from other programs and we don't get a lot of help, so this program is a blessing for us," Woolridge said.
She shared how the assistance she received has helped her and encourages others to apply
"I have a college student, so it helps free up money to be able to help her with the things she needs. I have a 5-year-old and I'm single mom. It helps all the way around to free up that extra money," Woolridge said.
United Way of Central Indiana's Winter Assistance Fund runs from December until May 31. If you or someone you know needs energy assistance, call the 2-1-1 referral line. It's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"When we get everything back going, this is a program we'll keep on our radar so we can help fund for the next medium-income family who may need this help because everybody needs help once in a while," Teague said.