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Helping Out During Hot Times

South Central Community Action Agency Director Regina Hebertsaid her office had a great grand opening Friday, but more thanthat, they are ready to go to work helping people’s energy billsdrop during times of extreme weather.

“We have extreme temperatures, we had an extremelycolder-than-usual winter, we’ve had a very hot summer,” saidHebert. “Extreme weather like that makes your power billsskyrocket, and any way to make them lower would be a plus. Thathelps everyone’s budget to make it lower, especially those on afixed income.”

The open house at SCCAA Friday gave people the chance to getsigned up and apply for weatherization funds and help in theirhomes. Hebert said that besides a good turnout during the event,there were also plenty of people who called to set up appointmentsand who came in throughout the day.

“But we had a steady flow all day of people coming in, andseveral that called and made appointments for the future,” he said.”But the important thing is we did what we wanted to do, and we gotthe word out to the public.”

SCCAA, which is located on Brookway Boulevard just down fromPerkins Ace Hardware, will specialize in weatherization, and thedoors are open to anyone who might have a need in that area, Hebertsaid. The project is funded through government weatherizationgrants, and Entergy and the Mississippi Department of HumanServices have joined forces with them to help people learn tobetter manage a limited income.

“They can continue to call and put their name on the list, we’llset them up a time to do an application and get them in thesystem,” Hebert said. “We’ll get them in there to where if we can,we’ll help them anyway we can.”

And as much as money is the issue to worry about, Hebert pointedout, there is a more important one.

“Weatherization has a big safety factor, if houses aren’t ventedproperly and gas heat, you’ve got carbon monoxide issues,” shesaid. “We’ve already had how many elderly in our state die thissummer from heat-related things? So it’s a safety issue as well forour elderly and disabled in our community.”

The program is primarily geared at the elderly, the disabled,and low-income families with young children. Applicants need tobring proof of income for any household member over 18 years old.In addition, they must have the deed or tax assessor statement, a12-month printout of the electric bill, a picture ID and SocialSecurity card for all the adults in the household, and proof ofinsurance on the home.