Leaders of local non-profits say they have an abundance of funds to help people with the water, electricity and gas bills.
The Caddo Community Action Agency spends roughly a million per year, assisting people with their energy bills, according to Executive Director Laurance Guidry. Right now, its "Lower Income Home Energy Assistance Program" has about $600,000 to give out before the end of the year. It will pay up to $450 of a person's bill.
"The eligibility criteria is based on family income, and its all driven by how many are in the household," said Guidry. "Priority is given to single mothers with young children and the elderly."
Applicants must live in Caddo Parish and show proof of income. They can apply once every six months for assistance, unless there is extreme hot or cold temperatures. The agency is accepting applications at its Eddie Jones and David Raines Community Centers. Both locations are averaging a total of 50 clients per week, according to Guidry
The agency also helps about 100 clients per month pay their water bill, through the Shreveport Water Assistance Program. Applicants can apply every six months. They must receive government assistance and have a cutoff notice. The agency does not give money to the client, but instead works with the water company to get the bill paid.
Socialization Services, Inc. also helps people pay their water bills, through the Shreveport Water Assistance Program.
"We just got new funding, so we are very far away from running out." said Linda Jones.
Since August of 2013, when the organization reopened, it has helped more than 1,400 people with their water bills. The bills it helps people pay average between $120 to $150, according to office administrator Linda Jones.
Both organizations only pay the bill, and not any extra fees or charges.
Catholic Charities of Shreveport offers assistance with utility bills, and rent. In order to receive help, its client have to attend a money management class. It has helped 825 individuals with emergency assistance in 2014 alone. It is starting a fundraising drive on July 1, to help replenish some of those funds.