SNAP heating appointments filled in record time

Published On: Nov 07 2012 10:01:18 AM PST   Updated On: Nov 06 2012 04:07:16 PM PST
SPOKANE, Wash. -

As the temperatures get colder heating bills will go up and we're reminded how great the need is for heating assistance in our community. SNAP's online energy assistance appointments filled up in just 24 hours.

Normally that process would take five days.

The good news is there is still help for those needing energy assistance from both SNAP and Avista. Both agencies provide energy conservation classes so that no matter what your income level everyone can save money.

SNAP had 4,000 online appointments available for families needing energy assistance this winter.

 "Even with the problems that we had Monday morning we were still full by Tuesday afternoon which is unheard of. [It] speaks to the fact that the need is greater than ever," Tricia Ovnicek with SNAP said.

What's more, appointments made by phone are dwindling; on Monday afternoon only 100 were left. Chances are they'll be gone by Tuesday. But if you need help you still have options.

"Once those regular appointments are full then we'll open, we'll stagger over the next couple of months options for people to get another appointment through our conservation education classes," Ovnicek said.

The conservation class teaches you in two hours to winterize your home. Once you pass the course you'll be on the list for an energy assistance appointment.

SNAP isn't the only one trying to teach the ways of conservation. Avista announced Monday it will hold a free energy fair this Thursday with installation demonstrations and one-on-one time with Avista staff.

The help doesn't stop there. If you use wood as a heating source SNAP can offer that for free, too.

"This program is free once per year people will have a full cord of wood, it's all chopped and it'll be dropped off at their home and they can us that to stay warm," Ovnicek said.

There are many options available as this area may see its first snow of the year later this week.

"Project Share is another options for folks so if they find themselves not able to make that energy payment and they're really close to a shutoff notice or they already have a shut off notice that is another way that we can try to help people," Ovnicek said.

Here is what you need to do to grab one of those spots at a SNAP conservation class. Call (509) 456-7111 for the Fort Wright location, (509) 456-7106 for the East location, (509) 487-1114 for the Northeast location, (509) 744-3370 for the Downtown location and (509) 926-1054 for the Valley location.

Avista's free energy fair is this Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the East Central Community Center.