NEW BERN - The Department of Social Services in Craven County is offering more energy assistance to its residents.
In 2012, $187,800 was provided to 792 homes in the county for Low Income Assistance Program. In 2013, the county upped the money available to $353,600.
However, another program, Crisis Intervention Program, was allocated less money. Down to $561,340 from $711,172.
CIP is used for people who are in danger of having their power disconnected. It applies to both heating and cooling. If eligible, a home can receive up to $600.
Since 2012, February 1 has been the first day energy assistance was available on a first come first serve basis. Officials with the DSS say those eligible can receive up to $400 of household benefit for heat. That money will be paid directly to the heating vendor.
On Friday, a line ran well outside the Craven DSS building. It was full of people who were waiting to receive the heating assistance.
"Assistance has grown because there's no jobs," Lorine Petty said. "And with the lay offs at Hatteras, that's just going to be even more."
Petty has been working full time and going to school at Pamlico Community College. She is training to be an EMT. With a bill that averages $200 a month for electricity, Petty said the assistance could be a big help.
"In my eyes it will help me a lot and I'm sure other people feel the same way," said Petty.