TRI-COUNTY CAP STRETCHED IN HELPING WITH HEATING AID

by Christian Mower on December 20, 2011

WHILE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS DRASTICALLY REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF MONEY TO FUND NEW HAMPSHIRE’S EMERGENCY HEATING PROGRAM, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN THE VALLEY AREA ARE ASKING FOR HELP TO HEAT THEIR HOMES.

KATHLEEN MCCOSH – THE ENERGY PROGRAM MANAGER AT THE NON-PROFIT SOCIAL SERVICES AGENCY TRI-COUNTY CAP THAT SERVES CARROLL, COOS AND GRAFTON COUNTIES – SAYS IT’S A TOUGH SITUATION ALL THE WAY AROUND – FOR THE PEOPLE ASKING FOR HELP, THE AGENCY WORKERS TRYING TO MANAGE THEIR REQUESTS – AND FOR THE VENDORS WHO ARE NOT RUNNING CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS AND WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY GET PAID FOR PROVIDING THE FUEL.

MCCOSH SAYS SO FAR THIS YEAR, NEW HAMPSHIRE HAS BEEN GIVEN JUST UNDER $15 MILLION  FROM THE LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, OR LIHEAP. THAT’S LESS THAN HALF THE $34 MILLION THE STATE GOT LAST YEAR.

MCCOSH SAYS THE STATEWIDE REDUCTION MEANS HER AGENCY NOW HAS ABOUT $3 MILLION – DOWN FROM ABOUT $6 MILLION LAST YEAR – TO HELP LOW INCOME RESIDENTS GET HEATING OIL, KEROSENE AND PROPANE.

MCCOSH SAYS IN THE PAST HER AGENCY COULD HELP A FAMILY OF FOUR WITH AN ANNUAL INCOME OF NEARLY $45,000  – TWICE THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL – BUT THAT UPPER LIMIT HAS NOW BEEN REDUCED TO 125 PERCENT ABOVE THE POVERTY LEVEL, OR A FAMILY OF FOUR MAKING ABOUT $28,000 A YEAR.

AND IT MEANS THE AVERAGE AMOUNT SHE CAN GIVE A FAMILY – ABOUT $750 FOR NUMBER 2 HEATING OIL – WILL BUY JUST LESS THAN 200 GALLONS, FAR LESS THAN WHAT MOST NEED TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE WINTER.  

MCCOSH SAYS HER AGENCY HAS BEEN ABLE TO HELP ABOUT 2,800 PEOPLE, BUT AROUND 4,400 MORE HAVE APPLIED AND ARE NOW ON A WAITING LIST. SHE RECOMMENDS PEOPLE WHO EXCEED THE INCOME THRESHOLD TRY TO GET HELP FROM CHARITIES OR GET THEIR DELIVERIES ON CREDIT.

SHE HOPES THE AMOUNT OF MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO NEW HAMPSHIRE WILL BE INCREASED IN THE NEAR FUTURE – POSSIBLY BY MORE THAN $10 MILLION, WHICH WOULD ALLOW HER AGENCY TO HELP MORE PEOPLE. SHE SAYS SHE APPRECIATES THE EFFORTS OF SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVE TO GET THE FUNDING INCREASED.

TRI-COUNTY CAP WILL ACCEPT TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS FOR THE PROGRAM. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT IT, SEE THE WEBSITE AT www.tccap.org.