Families seek help with electric bills due to bitter cold, high cost of Nashville living

Thermostat (Cropped Photo: MGN)

Jevon Wheeler dreads going to the thermostat every night.

“We do have space heaters but I try not to use those as much,” said Wheeler.

Turning up the heat in the middle of freezing temps may seem like a simple choice, but for Wheeler, it means choosing to keep her four kids warm or buying food.

“The electric bill is one of my biggest bills because it always goes up in the winter time,” said Wheeler.

She owns her own business but says the high cost of living in Nashville makes it hard to pay bills.

She’s behind on her electric bill but the Metro Action Commission leaders say they’ve got millions that just rolled in to help families like Wheeler’s.

“We do have families who are using unsafe methods in order to keep their houses safe. Those are the families we are really encouraging to come in and allow us to help you with making sure your electricity or your power is functioning,” said Lisa McCrady, spokeswoman for Metro Action.

McCrady said every year, Nashville gets a $6 million federal grant. This January, Davidson County was awarded $12 million due to the growing need and funding window. McCrady says that money will help about 30,000 families keep their lights on and stay safe and warm.

“You have families who have just barely made it and now they’re saying this is just too much and I need relief in some areas,” said McCrady.

It’s not just those who are low income who are seeking help. McCrady and Quitina Sisney who runs Hope Station, a financial assistance program for single moms, says people across all income levels are now in need of help.

“The need has changed so drastically because of the gentrification and the rent has gone up so high. They’re having to go to non-profit organizations, family friends or whatever to try and get the difference in the rent,” said Sisney.

Assistance offered by Metro Action only covers utility bills and is offered once a year for each family. There are specific income requirements and proof of documentation. For more on that and to fill out the application, visit this website HERE.

If you would like to receive assistance from or donate to Hope Station, call 615-480-2765 or visit this link.

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