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Common Concerns - Resources During Tough Economic Times

The Internet has a wealth of information.

If you don’t have access to a computer, or don’t usually use one,

ask your local library if they have a public-access computer and can help get you started.

Many libraries provide one-on-one help or free classes.

Home, Food, Energy and Housing

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE) website has resources and information on how to live within a budget and survive tough times.  For a start, go to http://www.umext.maine.edu/savemoney/default.htm and subscribe to Money Sense, a UMCE publication full of money-saving tips: call 564.3301 or 1800.287.1491 to subscribe.

The UMaine Cooperative Extension has abundant resources on a number of topics, including food and health, gardening, home energy conservation, and family relations.  They have many useful publications.  Go to their website,   http://www.umext.maine.edu/ or call 581.3188 or 1 800.287.0274.

The Governor’s Office  http://www.maine.gov/governor/baldacci/policy/energy.shtml
The Energy webpage has information on a wide variety of energy programs available to individuals and businesses and easy-to-use links.  Includes information on home energy conservation and weatherization, tax rebates for alternative and renewable energy technology and renewable energy alternative, and nut-and-bolts information on energy efficiency. Provides links to the Public Utilities Commission’s Efficiency Maine website.

Efficiency Maine, http://www.efficiencymaine.com/  Abundant resources for homeowners and businesses on how to save energy and cut utility bills.

  • Borrow a Kill-A-Watt monitor from your public library to find out how much energy your appliances and electronics are using.  http://www.efficiencymaine.com/residential_programs.htm
  • Carbon Free Homes:  how to calculate your carbon footprint, and decrease your overall energy use.  http://www.carbonfreehomes.org/

Heating Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)  http://www.penquis.org/ is administered by Penquis CAP in Bangor (973-3630) and provides fuel assistance to income-eligible Mainers.  The money is sent directly to the oil company.  Eligible customers can also get discounted rates on electric and phone bills.  For example, a family of 4 with a gross income of less than $3,000 per month is eligible for assistance.  Call Penquis CAP to arrange an appointment.

Bangor Hydro Electric Company  http://www.bangorhydro.com  Customers who meet income guidelines may qualify for reduced rates.  To qualify, total household income must not exceed 170% of the federal poverty guidelines.  Apply to Penquis CAP to be certified for the Low Income Rate.

State Energy Program (SEP)  http://www.maine.gov/msep   SEP is funded to provide information on all types of energy. There are many good do-it-yourself guides to energy-efficiency including home energy audits and tips on insulation. There is also information on renewable energy, clean energy and the Solar Energy Rebate program.

Energy Star  http://www.energystar.gov/  Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Dept. of Energy established to help save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.  Learn how to improve your home to reduce energy costs.

Maine State Housing Authority  http://www.mainehousing.org/  Information on home buying, transitional and emergency housing, energy assistance and low-interest loans for low- and moderate-income families, home repair programs and rental assistance.

Finding the Best Gasoline Prices.  Shop around for the cheapest gas in your neighborhood.  Several websites list local gas prices – try http://www.mainegasprices.com

Social Services

Maine Department of Health and Human Services website provides links to services available from various agencies and non-profits at:  http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/programs.shtml2-1-1 Maine, Inc,: http://www.211maine.org/ or call 2-1-1:
2-1-1 Maine, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides health and human services information and referral to the State of Maine.  They can tell you where to go for help.

Penquis Community Action Program provides help and resources on a wide array of programs.  www.penquiscap.org262 Harlow Street, Bangor, ME  04402, 207.973.3500, Toll-Free: (888) 424-0151

Resources For Avoiding Foreclosure
If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, ask for help right away.
A housing counselor may be able to help you lower your costs
and make payment arrangements to avoid foreclosure.

The HUD (US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) website offers a Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure at http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure/.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI) is a Comprehensive Housing Counseling Agency providing one-on-one housing counseling assistance to Maine residents.  They can provide assistance with:

  • foreclosure prevention
  • homebuyer guidance
  • reverse mortgages
  • budgeting
  • finding resources for home improvements
  • accessing various services and programs such as the Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance Program.
  • For more information or to sign up for counseling, e-mail dianes@ceimaine.org or call 207.882.7552, ext. 126.

Pine Tree Legal Services, Inc., www.ptla.org

Pine Tree Legal Assistance provides information on how to avoid foreclosure, including a “Foreclosure Prevention Toolkit” and updates on various federal and state programs:
http://www.ptla.org/cliented/housing/foreclosure/index_html

61 Main St # 41
Bangor, ME 04401
207.942.8241

For Legal Assistance:
Pine Tree Legal Assistance http://www.ptla.org/cliented/contact.htm

Legal Services for the Elderly http://www.mainelse.org/

Bureau of Consumer Credit Regulation http://www.state.me.us/pfr/consumercredit/index.shtml

Financial Counseling

Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Maine
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Maine (CCCS of Maine) provides financial counseling, debt repayment plans, and consumer education.  Through these services, CCCS helps people control their finances and avoid bankruptcy.  To schedule a credit counseling service appointment, call 1.866.889.9347.

UMaine Financial Education Program
The Financial Education Program at UMaine provides employees, students and residents of surrounding communities with access to high-quality, current and credible information, tools, and services designed to broaden personal financial management knowledge and decision-making skills. For more information or to set up an appointment, contact Sharon Hageman at 581.1853.

National Foundation for Credit Counselinghttp://www.nfcc.org/.  This website offers debt advice, home foreclosure help, NFCC member locators, budget calculators and personal solutions


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