The state of Ohio is expecting a significant increase in the amount of residents applying for home energy assistance this winter.
Local HEAP officials says higher numbers are expected for the second year in a row in Muskingum County as well.
"We will see our increase in the next three months, the last three months of HEAP because we schedule for the first two months," said Gary Wilson of the program. "Every appointment is scheduled, plus we’ll handle between 10 to 20 walk-ins a day. We’re not going to show the real increase until the end of the program."
While some states like Kentucky and Tennessee are expecting 60 to 70 percent increases, Ohio is is expecting a lower number.
"We’re a little luckier than that," said Wilson. "We don’t expect more than 20-percent for Ohio right now. Right now the state is looking at between 15 and 20-percent increase in household supply and assistance."
Wilson said HEAP has applied for more funding and they do have enough money so far. He said a combination between the economy and the program raising the qualifying income level has brought more applicants in.
Each year heap helps between 3,200 and 3,500 homes in our area.