One woman spent months in the cold until she finally made the call for help

Imagine.. boiling water to fill a tub to bath your children.. that was the reality for Melissa Perez for many months.

(Perez) "I would start two pots of water on the back burners so the small burner and the large burner, so as soon as dinner was on the table I would put two more pots of water on. So it takes about 45 minutes just to get the first round of water ready and another 15-20 to get the second load of water ready and bring it all the way upstairs. So it's about an hour and half long process."

Having no hot water and no heat continued for months until Perez reached out to ACAP to see if she qualified for the home energy assistance program.

(Perez) "Feels nice to know that it's there and that when I can't provide it for my kids that somebody else can help me because it's a little stressful not being able to provide for your family because that's your job. Kinda gets you when you're kinda like oh yeah let me take this space heater to room, to room, to room, and so you're running up your electric bill I mean at least you're keeping your kids warm, it's stressful not being able to provide for them the way I'm supposed to."

Perez and her husband have three children at home. One of them is allergic to the cold and another only has one kidney. Her husband is currently working and she's in the process of putting a business plan together to open her own in-home day care. Affording to heat their home became a mounting stress.. one that was relieved after she qualified for the home energy assistance program.

(Perez) "It's a beautiful feeling to go over and turn the thermostat on when your kids say they are cold and not say put on another sweatshirt and get another blanket and let's get another pair of slippers on and let's all cuddy on the couch or all try to squeeze into one bed."

Perez says accepting help wasn't something she was used to doing..but she's grateful the help is there.
Ashley Blackford News Source 8