News article from The Forecaster: Mid-Coast heating assistance high on demand, low on supply
It is not quite halfway into the heating season, and already 107 households have requested and received fuel assistance; this is more than 60% of last year’s total of 173 households, comprised of over 450 individuals. Warm Thy Neighbor the local heating assistance program serves Brunswick, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham, Durham, Harpswell, Orrs and Bailey Islands, Lisbon and Lisbon Falls, and Topsham. Donations to the Warm Thy Neighbor have been strong, but the increased demand and high cost of fuel have added pressure to the budget. This is alarming, as other sources of federal and state assistance have come in well below prior year levels, putting greater demand on private sources such Warm Thy Neighbor, a program of Tedford Housing.
Every day, up to seven applicants for assistance meet with staff to share their stories, and to find out if Warm Thy Neighbor can help. Today a son brought his 90 year old mother in to help her apply. They were both so grateful that she does not have to face this next cold snap without enough heat. The son called back after he left just to say “thank you” again. Craig Phillips, Tedford Housing’s Executive Director reports that “some folks have not had heat for several days before they call. Sometimes they have resorted to very unsafe means to try to keep warm, such as keeping the oven on and the door open or using space heaters which can overheat and start a fire. It is vital to help them get back to safe ways to heat their homes and families.”
Nearly 50% of the people who seek services are homeowners, many of whom have never sought assistance before. Elderly people living alone, mothers with small children, and disabled adults make up the majority of those receiving assistance
Private giving is the primary source of funds for Warm Thy Neighbor. Individuals, churches, community groups, service organizations, and businesses provide donations. This support is vital to assuring adequate resources to help struggling households hit hard by the ongoing economic downturn.
If you would like to contact Warm Thy Neighbor about heating assistance for your household, please call Tina at 729-1161, ext.112.
To make a donation, mail to Warm Thy Neighbor, C/o Tedford Housing, P.O. Box 958, Brunswick, Maine 04011.
For more information contact Craig Phillips, Executive Director at 729-1161, ext.102; email at firstname.lastname@example.org.