Trouble With LIHEAP Appointments

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A new batch of appointments opened up today for people looking for help with their heating bills. Those who qualify are those who have had their service disconnected or have young children.

"Once again, I'm out of luck with getting help with my utility bills and I don't know how I’m gonna pay them.”

The only way to get help from LIHEAP is to call, which has been incredibly frustrating for Cindy Horton who spent all morning calling the agency. However, all she got was a recorded message. She had the same problem last month.

"I’m disabled and I called and called all morning and finally was told that all the slots were taken," said Horton.

Horton stopped working 9 years ago, when she developed several health issues, including congestive heart failure. She says she called all area locations this time around, including Liberty Baptist Church. "I've never had a problem with getting help until this year."

This is the first year LIHEAP is accepting appointments at Liberty Baptist Church. Pastor Herbert Johnson says they're doing the best they can, with one LIHEAP phone line.

"We've had people to come in early to take phone calls, simply because we've been getting phone calls for the last month," said Johnson.

Johnson says people have been coming for the last few weeks to try to get a time slot. Although it’s hard, he's says he's grateful his church is a site.

"As a church, as a community organization, we want to be a blessing to the community and assist in any way possible,” the Pastor added.

In addition to Liberty Baptist Church, the Salvation Army is also helping people get appointments. The Salvation Army has 30 appointments available to the disabled and elderly. To request an appointment, call (815)-972-1135.

The next round of appointments begins November 6th, where it will be open for the general public.

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