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      How to get propane assistance

      To see where someone would start to apply for propane assistance, I called the 2-1-1 Health and Human Services hotline, asked for information on where to get assistance, and received referrals based on my zip code. Those at the hotline led me to the Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency in Iron Mountain who has a heating assistance program, specifically for deliverable fuels like propane; but there are some restrictions to getting that money.

      ??We can't help them until they're at 25 percent or below,?? said Outreach Director, Monica Fohn. ??We do have a waiting list; we're working our way down that list for the deliverable fuels, so you want to call and make an appointment.??

      An appointment with them is a sure-fire way to get on that waiting list as soon as possible, but be sure to bring proof of income and photo identification, as well as the name of your propane supplier. But as Monica explained to me, there's a demographic they can't help but wish they could.

      ??They??re over the income guidelines and there's no help out there for them, and they can't come up with $3,000 to fill their propane tank," Fohn said.

      It??s a crisis being felt all over the nation, but fortunately there are numerous agencies that can make sure you can get the propane you need.

      ??If they call here and they're down 10 percent or below 25 percent, we can usually get them in within a couple days,?? Fohn said.

      Dean Chartier works for U.P. Propane in Iron Mountain, which is continuing to supply to their customers, but he said this shortage is something he hasn't seen in a long time.

      ??I??ve been doing this for 26 years;?? said Chartier. ??I like my job, but this year has really been a pain. We're doing 100 gallon drops, and now we have to go back two or three times just to keep everybody full.??

      To schedule an appointment with the Community Services Agency in Iron Mountain, call (906) 774-2256 and ask for the extension number for Monica Fohn. For the Iron County Community Services Agency, call (906) 265-5990.

      To see if you are eligible for propane or other deliverable fuel assistance, visit the Department of Human Services website here.