Snow is blanketing the South, freezing rain is falling in the Midwest and the Northeast region is preparing for half a foot or more of snow in the days to come. The long and short of it: It's cold. Really cold. And for one woman in New York City, it is deadly cold.
A tragic story out of Manhattan's Lower East Side is that of an elderly woman who was burned and killed while trying to light her stove and over for warmth. Her buidling had been without heat or hot water for a short time, and in effort to keep warm she attempted using her oven. This turned out to be a fatal move.
Now, while this victim's landlord should be questioned about the lack of heating in the dead of winter, there are many people just like this woman who are without heat due to no fault of their own. Maybe they own a home, but became unemployed and now they can't afford their gas or heating bill. We come across such circumstances at Modest Needs all the time.
And while Modest Needs is certainly established to help those with one time emergency expenses, there is also a federally financed program called HEAP that is in place to help those who cannot afford heating in their homes during the winter.The Home Energy Assistance Program can help pay for "Electricity, Propane, Natural Gas, Wood, Oil, Kerosene, Coal, or any other heating fuel."
There are three ways to obtain assistance through HEAP. They offer supplemental assistance to low income families, emergency help for those who need heating now, and heating equipment repair. Although this is a federal program, HEAP is run at the base level by state. All you need to do to learn more about HEAP benefits in your area is to search google for Home Energy Assistance Program plus the name of your state.
No one should be forced to live in deadly cold, no matter the cicumstances that put them there.
[Photo by dr.mafisto]