Harsh winter, warm springs puts strain on low-income families - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Harsh winter, warm springs puts strain on low-income families

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

After a cold winter and warm spring, families in the Charlotte area are racking up expensive utility bills.

Tovi Martin, with the Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, tells WBTV the situation has put a serious strain on low income families.

"I talked to a young lady last week who had a $500 bill," Martin said.

Martin tells WBTV there is a long line of people in a similar situation.

"Last week we saw a little over 100 people a day who were in need of utility assistance, so we are definitely seeing a lot of people who are in deep holes because of the winter," said Martin.

Alicia Rivers was at Crisis Assistance Ministry when WBTV stopped by today.

"They were able to help me out," Rivers said.

Rivers explained that she is in between jobs and Duke Energy cut her power on Tuesday.

Her bills have jumped almost $40 through the winter months, she said.

"Usually it runs in the winter and summer time about $75 to $80 (a month). Well, because of the drastic variations, it went from $75 to $100 to $115 just in one month," Rivers said.

Martin says she expects to see more cases like Rivers as the temperatures climb Wednesday and Thursday.

Her advice is to come to the Crisis Assistance Ministry before it is too late.

"People who are in those types of situation are the reason Crisis Assistance Ministry exists, Martin told WBTV. "When they find themselves in that situation, where they have done everything they can and they just aren't able to make that power bill this month that is when we want them to come to us for help. That is why we are here."

You can reach Crisis Assistance Ministry at (704)371-3001, or by going to crisisassistance.org.

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