The News Observer, July 19, 2012 by Cynthis Maude:
Heat Fannin Busy Winterizing Homes
Winter may seem far off during the blistering heat of July, but Heat Fannin volunteers are already at work winterizing homes.
The group is working together with Habitat for Humanity of Fannin and Gilmer Counties to install storm windows and winterize one house in Fannin.
"We would like to look at weatherization targeted for veterans," Heat Fannin coordinator Jane Kimzey said. The group would use Habitat's guidelines on weatherization and plans to confer with North Georgia Community Action, which often receives applications from veterans.
"One of the beauties of weatherization is that by lowering electric bills, it allows people who are on the edge to be able to keep their homes," said Habitat for Humanity President Eddy White.
Rachael Burnett of North Georgia Community Action is seeking a volunteer to assist her with its heating assistance program for winter 2012-2013. One or several volunteers are needed to answer the phone while Burnett handles applications, and to return phone calls with requests for heating assistance from Fannin County Family Connections.
In 2009, the state of Georgia received $102M for the energy assistance program LIHEAP.
In 2010, the state received $88M.
In 2011, when the number of seniors needing assistance more than doubled, the state of Georgia received almost 50% less in funding than in 2010 - $62M.
That completed depleted the funds before the general public could even apply.
In November 2011, the Ninth District Opportunity (NDO) which administers such funds in 13 northeast Georgia counties posted the following sign on their doors:
"Due to Federal budget cuts, North Georgia Community Action, Inc. WILL NOT be opening the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program on December 1, 2011."
With a high unemployment rate, a stock market that almost destroyed most 401Ks, what is a family to do?
The folks at Heat Fannin believes that it is up to us, those who have, to help those who have not.