Colder temperatures have crept back into the forecast, which means higher utility bills are on the way.

Local nonprofits and companies are extending a hand to families who may have trouble paying their bills.

Ohio Valley Opportunities offers a low-income energy assistance program for families in Jefferson, Jennings and Scott counties.

The organization began accepting applications for the winter heating season Nov. 5. Residents can call (877) 782-5882 or (812) 265-5882 to set up an appointment, which is required.

The organization does have income guidelines. For instance, a family of four can make no more than $2,881 each month or $34,575 a year in order to qualify for assistance.

During a visit, an applicant must show proof of income, a gas or electric bill, and home ownership papers or a landlord affidavit to apply for assistance.

Local utility provider Vectren Corp. also has an income-eligible program called Share the Warmth, which is a private foundation that draws from public donations.

The program works with homeowners to help weatherize homes in order to decrease energy usage and offer long-term conservation practices. Each year, Vectren matches all public donations up to an annual amount of $200,000. Share the Warmth funds are distributed annually to the Indiana and Ohio Low Income Weatherization Assistance Programs.

Common weatherization measures include: insulating walls and attics, repairing and tuning up furnace or installing a new unit, weather-stripping doors and caulking windows, insulating water heaters, pipes and hot-air ducts or repairing broken windows or installing replacement windows.

Those who wish to donate should call 1-888-348-1955. If residents need assistance they can access the "Need help" tab on the Share the Warmth website, www.sharethewarmthinc.com.