The NAACP is offering up to $ 300 to African American residents who are struggling to pay their energy bills due to COVID-19. It comes about a week after the state allowed utilities to resume disconnections for unpaid bills.

Many people who lost their jobs during the pandemic are the same people who struggled to pay their bills before the crisis, according to Indiana University study – low-income residents, seniors, Afro-Americans -Americans and Latin Americans.

La’Tonya Troutman is the Chair of Environmental Climate Justice for the LaPorte County Branch of the NAACP. She said at the same time, people are spending more time at home and it’s hot outside, which is pushing up those energy bills even further.

Many people face difficult choices between paying for shelter, food and energy.

“What do you prioritize when the governor says, ‘Hey, the moratorium is over and we’re kind of back to normal’ – but there’s no normal because you’re late? Said Troutman.

READ MORE: With moratorium end, housing advocates brace for ‘tsunami’ eviction

Sanya Carley and David Konisky are professors at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, which conducted the study. Konisky said things like late fees can add up and make the issue more difficult to resolve. He said people may feel pressured into making decisions that could put them even more in debt.

“They can research, you know, things like payday loans, can’t they? Or other types of risky loans or high interest loans to be carried out in the short term, ”Konisky said.

Carley said one way the state and federal government could help would be to consider – or reconsider – ways to protect people from cuts.

“Another is to think about the debt they accumulate during the time they are protected and find ways to help alleviate some of that debt or cancel that debt after the fact,” she said. declared.

The Indiana NAACP is also working to create employment opportunities, energy efficient housing and solar power to help reduce energy insecurity in the state.

READ MORE: NAACP: We can reduce pollution that puts some at greater risk of COVID-19

To receive assistance through the NAACP, you must be African American or of African descent, referred by a local branch of the NAACP, and show that you have experienced difficulty due to the COVID-19 crisis. To apply, contact your local branch or La’Tonya Troutman at the LaPorte County NAACP.

Contact reporter Rebecca at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental Reports are supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project that develops Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to environmental change issues. .

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