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Ozark Opportunities provides extra help in Ark. during pandemic

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Ozark Opportunities helps thousands of people across six Arkansas counties pay their electric bills during the summer whether they’re current or past due.

Those counties are Boone, Marion, Searcy, Newton, Baxter and Van Buren.

“Knowing that we’re helping people out is why I come in every morning,” said Crystal Rogers, the community services supervisor for Ozark Opportunities.

But now people can get even more assistance from the organization if they missed a payment because of the CARES Act.

”Benefit amount for the crisis program we have every year is $500. The CARES is up to $1,500,” Rogers said.

The CARES funds can be used to go toward past due bills but don’t have to be electric.

They can be gas, propane or wood.Families can also get up to a $675 credit to pre-pay fuel bills for the winter.

”Families reeling from the COVID crisis, or just experiencing hardships in general, can get that extra boost needed to handle their upcoming heat cost before they face yet another crisis,” said Terrance Buttry, an outreach coordinator with Ozark Opportunities in Baxter County.

To get assistance, it depends on your income and household size.

But that’s not the only program you can apply for at Ozark Opportunities right now.

”We can help with past-due rent. If your mortgage is running late because of COVID, we can help with that,” said Cathy Brownell, the family development specialist for Ozark Opportunities.

Those funds from that program can also go toward certain medical payments and transportation needs, like car repair costs. The program can help a family up to $1,000.

“We have a lot of families that will lose that $600 bonus they’ve been getting every week. So going back to a regular paycheck can be very difficult when you’ve possibly made more money than you were prior to COVID,” Brownell said.

It’s all a way to make sure families have one, or a couple, less things to stress over, and can put their focus somewhere else.

”Having families not have to worry about where they’re going to be laying their heads at night is huge for us,” Brownell said.

For more information on these programs and to see if you’re eligible, go to ozarkopp.org.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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