Wed., December 2, 2009 2:23pm (EST)

Energy Assistance Program Busy
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 5 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
More than a hundred people wait inside St. Paul AME Church in Macon for their turn to speak with energy assistance counselors (photo by Josephine Bennett)
More than a hundred people wait inside St. Paul AME Church in Macon for their turn to speak with energy assistance counselors (photo by Josephine Bennett)
People in Macon lined up early to get help heating their homes this winter.

Many people braved rain, wind, and cold to spend the night outside St. Paul's AME Church in Macon. They wanted to be first in line to apply for one-time grants of $350 offered by the state's energy assistance program.

In October senior citizens and the disabled were able to apply.

Lonnie Miley runs the program in Macon and says many people are qualifying for the first time.

"We urged people not to come and stay overnight, but it's just a sign of the times. We had people here since probably, since seven o'clock last night."

Georgia is getting $70 million from the federally funded program. Money is paid directly to the utility providers and will be disbursed until it runs out. Meanwhile, state climatologists say they expect this winter to be colder and wetter than normal.