No More Appointments Right Now for Utility Assistance - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

No More Appointments Right Now for Utility Assistance

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Patrice Clark of Savannah worked all morning and rushed to the EOA office Wednesday afternoon for an appointment. And before that, she stood in line for about 8 hours just for the opportunity for the appointment. Clark is one of an estimated 12 hundred people who are desperate enough for federal utility assistance that many of them braved cold weather late Sunday night and early Monday morning to make sure they were in line at the Savannah Civic Center when the doors opened at 9:00 a.m. Monday marked the first day that appointments for certain households were available for federal assistance which is administered through EOA (Economic Opportunity Authority.)

"It was a very overwhelming process, I had to stand in front of the Civic Center for hours," said Clark. "I slept in front of the Civic Center but to be here today is worth it,"

Clark may receive up to $350 to put toward her $450 electric bill. While she works, the young mother with one son says with other expenses like rent and trying to keep her car working, not to mention trying to provide a Christmas present or two for her boy, the utility bill was something she couldn't manage.

She's not alone says John Finney of EOA. "We see new faces all the time, the working poor you hear so much about," he said.

Finney says the federal help was cut by about one million dollars last year which left many people out in the cold then. Now he says the funding for the current cycle is supposed to be about $1.5 million. However, only $550,000 has been received. "we can't take any more appointments until more money comes through the pipeline if it actually does," says Finney.

Finney is hopeful but says he has no timetable on when the additional monies may come through. He says in November, the agency served 1,000 elderly and homebound people. Now with 1,200 additional appointments, he says EOA can't take the chance of promising help to any others, unless the money comes through in the new year.

Clark is concerned about others who ended up not being as lucky as herself. But she can't help but be thankful she beat the odds by spending hours outside in line. "You've got to do what you've got to do, because pretty much no one is offering assistance but EOA, so you have no choice but to be out there standing in line, because they are the only ones doing it."

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