By Renée Santos

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With many people out of jobs, bills are stacking up and some may choose to not turn on the air conditioning, but this isn’t recommended.

Officials with San Joaquin County say now is not the time to not run your AC.

“This is not the time to not run your air conditioner. This is the time and our assistance is here,” said Charisse Reed, Human Services Program Coordinator with San Joaquin County Department of Aging Human Services Agency.

Oscar Duran isn’t working right now. He’s three months behind on bills and recently had to move his family of four into a one-bedroom apartment because he could no longer afford his rent or electricity bills.  His financial struggles worry him as the region continues to deal with extreme heat.

Staying indoors with the AC running is what many families will be doing for the next several days. Oscar will be too but hates to think about the electricity bill when it comes.

READ: Northern California Heatwave: What You Need To Know

“I’m not the only one who is struggling right now. There’s a lot of families out there, some of them are on the streets right now sleeping inside cars,” he said.

San Joaquin county’s human services agency is ready to help families in the same position as Oscar by helping credit their utility bills.

“We typically provide assistance if someone is being shut off or has a 48-hour notice or has already been shut off, but even if they have a past due notice,” said Christina Kidd, Aging & Community Services Program Manager with the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency.

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It’s the relief Oscar knows is crucial.

“It’s very hard. I’ve never struggled this hard in my life. It’s been so hard right now,” he said.

Families in San Joaquin County whose employment was impacted by the pandemic or have been currently receiving unemployment benefits since January of 2020 may qualify for assistance.

For more information on obtaining a fan or utility bill assistance, call: 209-468-1500.
To access the application forms and instructions, visit the website at: http://www.sjchsa.org/assistance/energyassistance
To apply online, visit: http://www.caliheapapply.com

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