Local News

Tuesday, Aug 24 2010 06:20 PM

Cash-strapped families can apply for help with utility payments

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Families behind on utility bills may qualify for a one-time grant program being administered by The Salvation Army.

The program, known as Temporary Energy Assistance for Families, or TEAF, runs through Sept. 21 or until funds run out, whichever comes first.

Funds are being provided mostly from federal stimulus dollars.

The TEAF program provides up to $1,500 to families with children 17 or younger who have fallen behind on utility payments. Recipients must meet income requirements and verify U.S. citizenship. Not all household members must be U.S. citizens, though grants will be prorated by citizenship.

In Kern County, customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Co. can apply.

You can find more information and download applications online at The Salvation Army's site, www.tsagoldenstate.org, and clicking on the TEAF program link.

Staff at Bakersfield's Salvation Army office say to call ahead to make sure you qualify and to set up an appointment. They want to make sure you bring in all of the necessary information so you don't wait in a long line and have to come back.

Make sure to say you're calling about the TEAF (pronounced "teef") program when you call, as The Salvation Army administers many programs.

Service units, including community organizations and church groups, are also administering the TEAF program in outlying communities.

Here are numbers for Kern's Salvation Army offices and some service units:

* In Bakersfield, call The Salvation Army's assistance line at 837-4243.

* Ridgecrest and eastern Kern residents can call The Salvation Army office at 760-375-7219.

Service units:

* Lake Isabella: 760-379-5100

* Tehachapi: 823-9508

* California City/Rosamond: 256-2307

* Delano: 721-7036

* Buttonwillow: 764-9405

* McFarland: 792-1883

* Taft: 765-7281

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