The NAACP is offering up to $300 for African American residents struggling to pay their energy bills due to COVID-19. This comes about a week after the state allowed utilities to resume disconnections for unpaid bills.
According to a study by Indiana University, a lot of the people who have lost jobs during the pandemic are the same ones who had trouble paying their bills before the crisis — low-income, elderly, African American, and Latino residents.
La'Tonya Troutman is the environmental climate justice chair 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 driving those energy bills up even further.
Many people are having to make tough choices between paying for housing, food, and energy.
“What do you prioritize when the governor’s saying, 'Hey, the moratorium’s ended and we're kind of back to normal' — but there is no normal because you're behind?” Troutman said.