FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heat-Up St. Louis and AmerenUE Begin New Partnership
City of St. Louis Provides $400,000 In Energy Assistance Grants
A Record-breaking $600,000 Raised in February for Heat-Up St. Louis
Today, City Officials of St. Louis announced that they have provided $400,000 in energy assistance grants to Heat-Up St. Louis, an all-volunteer, regional independent, utility assistance charity covering about 17 Missouri and Illinois counties, including the City of St. Louis. The funds will be used for qualified City residents, who are low-income, elderly or disabled and are having problems paying their winter delinquent utility bills.
“These are tough times for many people. Rising fuel prices coupled with harsh weather, the mortgage crisis and the weak economy have pushed many seniors and families to the brink,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay. “I am especially worried about our most vulnerable citizens: seniors, disabled people and young children.”
Although Heat-Up St. Louis service area goes beyond the City, the Mayor took note that the advocacy and utility assistance charity in partnership with the City of St. Louis has become a critical safety net for many needy families, seniors and disabled people. Heat Up St. Louis is made up entirely of volunteers. 100% of the public money goes for direct energy assistance.
In addition, AmerenUE and Heat-Up St. Louis unveiled a first-time unprecedented partnership relating to public education and advocacy surrounding the need to develop and administer various energy conservation/energy efficiency programs, and advocacy grassroots initiatives. The electric and natural gas firm presented a check for $50,000 to Heat-Up St. Louis officials to underwrite costs associated with these new efforts during 2008.
“We believe that this all-volunteer charitable effort does some good deeds within the St. Louis region,” said Richard J. Mark, senior vice president of Missouri Energy Delivery, AmerenUE. “We discussed our commonalities, and how they could benefit the community at large.”
In addition, AmerenUE announced that it would support the summer program, Cool Down St. Louis with a purchase of 100 brand-new air-conditioners to be distributed this summer to low-income households with small infants, seniors and the disabled. This donation is part of the Cool Down St. Louis, “Check On Your Neighbor,” region-wide, outreach project.
“These funds come at a most dramatic time, when we've experienced a tremendous series of cold-snaps during February,” said Kevin X. McGowan, president of Blue Urban, a national loft and real estate development firm based in St. Louis and volunteer board president of Heat-Up St. Louis. “We can be assured that the February utility bills are going to be huge and not affordable for thousands of needy people.”
Heat-Up St. Louis officials reiterated that being without a home heating source can be dangerous from a health, and property safety standpoint. Winter has the highest incidents of apartment and house fires, because many people resort to unsafe methods in an effort to stay warm. Officials also warned the utility customers that they are obligated to make arrangements to pay something on their monthly bills, despite the Cold Weather Rule or at least inform the companies of their inability to pay.
A record-breaking $600,000 in donations and grants were raised during the month of February for Heat-Up St. Louis, the all-volunteer, regional utility assistance, and public education charity.
Heat-Up St. Louis officials said that the funding sources for that $600,000 include: The Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Utility Tax Relief Fund, the Use Tax Trust Fund, Ameren Corporation Charitable Trust, Hardee’s Rise and Shine for Heat, and Schnucks Scan and Give to Heat-Up projects, and various public and private donations, etc.
Tax-deductible donations may still be sent to Heat-Up St. Louis, c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188. People who feel that they qualify for energy assistance may call the automated Heat-Up St. Louis Hotline, at 314-241-7668.