MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) - When the heat is on, so are the fans and the air conditioners.
The high temperatures are also increasing calls to LEAVEN in Menasha. The agency provides limited financial assistance to people struggling to meet their basic needs.
"Some examples might be if they need help with their rent payments so they aren't evicted, or their mortgage payment," explained Jennifer Wanke, LEAVEN Executive Director.
Wanke said they also help with utility bills. Since the start of summer, they've seen a spike in need.
"When your temperatures get so hot, people typically can't bear to be without a fan or without electricity that can provide air conditioning," said Wanke. "And so we think that is the main reason we're seeing so many more people right now."
Through the end of June, Wanke said 839 local households have requested help with gas or electric bills. Now well into July, she estimates that number to be closer to a thousand.
"Because once they're disconnected, they have to pay an additional fee to get reconnected again," she said. "What we really want to do is work with them and then we might pay like a portion of that bill and then they're responsible to come up with that portion. So it's kind of like a partnership between the client and LEAVEN to get then reconnected again."
LEAVEN is funded through donations and the staff is almost entirely made up of volunteers. While Wanke said the uptick in need is a little surprising, she doesn't see it putting a strain on this year's budget.
LEAVEN helps around 7,000 families a year in Outagamie, Calumet and northern Winnebago counties.
If you're in need of assistance, click here for more information.