Budget Center's energy-assistance fund depleted

Money from grant to help with heat, electricity bills runs out, little remains to help community

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Energy costs have continued to ride along the stratosphere this year, with heating bills at record levels and gasoline prices remain at or above two dollars, but summer won't bring relief.

Residents can expect to continue to pay high costs for utilities as they use electricity to water lawns or cool down rooms.

One grant that focused on reducing the financial strain of excessively high utility bills has just run out.

The Community Budget Center (CBC) has used all the money from the Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation grant it received in May. The CBC received a payment of $875 to distribute to the community on an as-needed basis.

Funds from the Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation were used to help 18 Craig families pay their utility bills.

"We won't see another payment from the Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation until October," said Charlotte Craft, president of the board of the Community Budget Center. "The CBC will still help people with these bills, but it we won't be able to give as much now that the grant has been used up."

The Low Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) has been shut down for the spring and summer seasons, as it is every year, and won't be reactivated until the fall.

What little help the CBC can offer is basically all that's available to those struggling with summer utility bills, Craft said.

Anyone who has a great enough need can apply for assistance by filling out a form at the Community Budget Center at 555 Yampa Ave. The form will then be turned over to the Center's board for consideration.

The Community Budget Center is a non-profit thrift store. All money made from the sale of used items is returned to the community in the form of energy assistance and other grants for needed services.

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