Hundreds Turn To Metro Action Commission For Help - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Hundreds Turn To Metro Action Commission For Help

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by Heather Graf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Hundreds of people lined up early and stayed late at the Metro Action Commission on Monday, as the agency announced it has money to help the needy for the first time in months.

For years, the Metro Action Commission has helped people pay their bills, starting in July.  This year, though, a change in funding delayed that assistance, and in doing so put low-income families throughout Nashville in a real bind.

"Well right now, most definitely because I have a baby, and I cant afford for my lights to be cut off, so I'm hoping they'll be able to help me," said Norma Marie, who applied for assistance on Monday morning.

The Metro Action Commission originally did not think the funding for its utility and energy assistance programs would be available until October 1.

Then late last week, they got word it would be available starting on Monday.  Despite the short notice, people started arriving at 6 a.m.  That's nearly two hours before the office even opened.

"We are seeing quite an additional amount of senior citizens who are coming in, many of them are new to our program, and so giving them an extra sense of security, dignity as they come in for assistance, that's what we're here for," said Lisa McCrady with the Metro Action Commission.

Metro Action Commission's new building, located at 800 2nd Avenue North, helped them better accommodate that increased need.

In years past, long lines have stretched outside the facility, but this time, almost everyone was seated in a lobby inside, to wait their turn.

Most of the people NewsChannel 5 spoke with said they don't care how long it takes -  they're just glad the program is back.

"People need this.  This is something we have to have," said Jamie St. Clair, who waited in the lobby for several hours.  "Whenever I first got there it was standing room only, but they were calling the numbers pretty quickly and getting people in and out."

McCrady expects Tuesday to be even busier than Monday.  Applications will be accepted Monday thru Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.'

"We're able to help and just for that moment, their hope raises up a little bit, and so they're not as burdened down with concern as they were when they came in," said McCrady.

If you can't make it down to the office, you can also apply for assistance online.

Metro Action Commission helps individuals that qualify with utility assistance, rent, mortgage, deposits, prescriptions, property taxes and other household expenses.


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