Heating Assistance

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A series of winter storms and bitter cold are driving up home energy costs in the stateline. Doug Schroder is like thousands of stateline residents. Out of work and struggling to keep up with the cost of heating his home.

"I'm not looking forward to getting my next gas bill. It's going to be really high. I know at least a couple of hundred dollars if not more, and how am I going to pay that?" says Schroder.

The Rockford father is getting help at the Northwest Community Center, signing up for the Illinois low-income home energy assistance program. Earlier this year funding for the program dried up, but on Thursday, U.S. leaders released another $8 million for Illinois's program.

"The more that the government releases to our community, the more assistance we'll be able to provide people with and the more pleasant their winter's going to be," says Northwest Community Center Executive Director Jim Peterson.

Doug Schroder would have to make some tough choices without the help. A single parent, Schroder is back in school training for a second career.

"I've been out of work since April 2002 and I’ve gone back to Rock Valley. I'm a full-time college student and without this help I could face a horrendous gas and electric bill from this winter," Schroder says.

The state is also focusing on education, offering residents kits to make their homes more energy efficient. For more information on the Liheap Program, call 987-5711.