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Monday, September 12th, 2005 -- 9:48 AM

With heating fuel prices projected to rise between 25-45-percent this heating season, Clark County?s Department of Social Services is expecting more people to seek financial assistance.

Marianne Schock says the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance program assists to pay the heating bills of families at 150% of the poverty level or below . She says the phone has already been ringing off the hook with area families seeking help.

"We've been receiving many calls already. We're booked into November with appointments. (Thursday) we were receiving a call every ten minutes for appointments."

Last year, approximately 1,184 households were assisted in Clark County, and that number is expected to grow. Clark County received an allocation of $70,000 from the state this year; up from $56,000 last year. Schock says the average heating assistance payment will be around $358. Applicants can apply at anytime through the heating season, which runs from October 1st through April 15th.

"They have to provide verification of their Social Security number, their income for the past three months and a proof or receipt for the heating costs for last year," Schock says. "We take the application and income and the payment is actually mailed directly to their vendor."

If you?d like more information, you can contact the Clark County Social Services Department at (715) 743-5233.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.