Cold snap has many gawking at heating bills; how to get help - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Cold snap has many gawking at heating bills; how you can get help

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ZUMBROTA, Minn. (FOX 47) -- After an unusually cold start to 2014, many homeowners have been cranking up the heat.

Now, if you're not feeling the pain in the wind punch, the proof is on the paper. After seeing their heating bill, it has many left in shock.

"I was a little bit, um, surprised, because we just had insulation put all over the house," said Marci Echols of Zumbrota.

Many residents are seeing their bills are climbing into the hundreds of dollars. Some even close to $1,000--taking a hit to many people's pockets.

For those who need help paying their heating bill, they can turn to agencies like Three Rivers Community Action, which has seen thousands of applications since the program began in October.

"We're just over 3,000 applications have come in and have been processed and we've got probably another 700 applications that the staff are working on right now," said Community Development Director, Jenny Larson.

Another 1,300 applications are still pending. There have been so many of them, that Three Rivers is still working on applications from November.

"People are walking in bringing their applications, we get a lot of phone calls, people are mailing their applications and so we're seeing a lot of activity," Larson said.

Despite the influx of homeowners seeking aid, Three Rivers is providing many of them with relief.

"Just in the primary heat grant, we've spent about $1.2 million in our four counties," said Larson.

Although the applications keep coming in, Three Rivers is getting to every one of them.

"I think people are nervous of course it's cold outside, everyone's nervous," said Larson. "But, people understand that there's a process and we'll get to them, we'll definitely get to them this winter."

Three Rivers plans to shell out another $500,000 in aid this winter season, and has staff members working over time to process crises applications within 24 hours.

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