The Emergency Utility Assistance Program (E.U.A.P.) is designed to help those who are too poor to pay their bills or do not have the money to reconnect service before the harsh winter hits. It is a city program that provides supplemental income to Lubbock charities that already receive state funding.
It was only two days ago, the Lubbock city council had an idea to give money to help needy families. Community Development Director Bill Howerton says the city acted fast. "They put $30,000 toward an E.U.A.P. divvied the monies up between Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Family Services. Those two charities have $15,000 a piece to help a total of 150 families."
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Adult Protective Services spokesman, Greg Cunningham, says it is important that families know help is out there. Help he believes that could have saved an elderly couple who froze to death in their cold and dark house. "This is an issue we've been concerned with for sometime. We want to raise awareness. Especially this winter with the increase in heating costs. We were very concerned that something like this could happen," said Cunningham.
The money came from taxes the city charges Atmos to use alleys to lay pipes to deliver gas service. Last week, some city council members challenged Atmos to match whatever the city puts into the program. Atmos says they are reviewing the possibility of doing that and will have an announcement next week.
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