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More people need help paying utilities as temperatures rise, nonprofit leader says

When it’s hot outside, air condition units in older homes must run longer, which results in higher costs.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — When temperatures are hot outside, some families could face broken or aging air condition units in their efforts to stay cool. One Rock Hill organization says some of those families are also looking for help to pay the increase in their electric bills caused by the increase in air conditioner use.

“If you have somebody that’s on a fixed income and their air conditioning goes out, then they’re struggling," Gordon Bell, executive director at Hope of Rock Hill, told WCNC Charlotte’s Indira Eskieva.

Hope of Rock Hill is a nonprofit that helps families pay for utilities and also provides food. So far this year, the organization has provided more than $50,000 in utility help. Bell said that’s half of what they provided by this same time last year.

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One day last week, the organization said they provided food to more than 80 people in one day; a new daily record for the nonprofit. 

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“It’s really a huge jump," Bell said. "We’ve never seen this. In our utilities, we usually give out $8,000 to $10,000 a month in assistance. Now we’re seeing about $12,000 to $14,000.”

Bell said with inflation costing families more on everything, it is becoming harder to pay utility bills. When it’s this hot, air condition units in older homes must run longer and end up costing more money to operate.

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