- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - A central Nebraska homeless shelter will receive more than $100,000 from a settlement with AT&T;’s wireless company over an unlawfully billing practice known as cramming.

As part of that settlement announced this week, AT&T; was ordered to pay $20 million to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nebraska’s share comes to more than $235,000.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has decided to divide the money, giving half to The Connection Homeless Shelter in North Platte and the other half to the Food Bank of Lincoln, The North Platte Telegraph reported (https://bit.ly/1rnbffJ ) Saturday.

“The Connection definitely serves an important role in the community,” said Bruning, adding that he’s always surprised to learn how many homeless people are in North Platte. “I’ve always been impressed with it and with Lincoln County in general.”

Beth DeFreece, executive director of the homeless shelter, had not heard the news until contacted by a reporter.

“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “We are elated - absolutely ecstatic and incredibly grateful to Jon Bruning.”

The shelter’s board will decide how to use the money, she said. She said she would like to see some of it used to keep a family educator on the payroll after a grant for the position runs out in December. She would also like to add more educational programs and expand a life skills class that teaches budgeting.

Bruning said it’s not uncommon for him to wait to tell a recipient about a settlement until he has the check in hand.

He said he plans to personally deliver the money to the shelter within the next couple months.

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Information from: The North Platte Telegraph, https://www.nptelegraph.com

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