Heating oil assistance program out of funds

Ryan Ross
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Salvation Army fuel program out of funds

The Salvation Army’s emergency heating assistance program is done for another year after it ran out of money last week, says a spokesman for the organization in Charlottetown.

Salvation Army Lt. Ian Scott said the program ran out of money Thursday, which was almost a month earlier than in 2010 because there was less money available this year.

“The amount of dollars per family is not much different than last year, but just less dollars to go around,” he said.

The Salvation Army Home Heating Assistance Program started in 2008 and is meant to provide emergency assistance to help low-income Islanders get through the cold winter months.

Last year the provincial government gave the program $108,000 through the Community Services, Seniors and Labour Department, but this year the contribution dropped to $78,000.

The P.E.I. Petroleum Marketers Association also chipped in with 6,800 litres of heating oil, which was 1,200 litres more than what its affiliate oil companies gave for 2010.

Anyone who showed an urgent need was able to get up to 300 litres of heating oil delivered to their home on an emergency basis.

Scott said that worked out to be more than 200 families this year over the two weeks the program was open, compared to four or five weeks last year.

“That was two weeks worth of work,” he said.

Although P.E.I. hasn’t seen extreme cold prior to this week, Scott said he thought a lot of families looked ahead to this time of year for using the oil program and even though it wasn’t bitterly cold, it was still cold enough for them to need help.

“Now that we’re getting the first blast of winter I’m sure it’s in the front of the mind of everyone,” he said.

Scott said it’s too early to say what will happen with the program because it was always renewed on a yearly basis and he doesn’t expect to have more information about funding until later in the year.

“I don’t really know about the future of it at this point,” he said.

The program works on a first-come-first-served basis for people who qualify so anyone who didn’t receive assistance already missed their chance, Scott said, but there is still demand.

“People phone in, call in and walk in every day,” he said.

Community Services, Seniors and Labour social programming director Bob Creed also said it’s too early to say if the province will provide any funding for the program next year.

“It’s difficult for me to predict what will be budgeted for the next fiscal year,” he said.

But while the government hasn’t made a decision on the program for 2012, Creed said the province recognizes that some people face challenges throughout the winter months.

“We are constantly reviewing our programs with the hope of doing our part.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: The Salvation Army, Charlottetown.Salvation Army, Community Services Seniors and Labour Department P.E.I. Petroleum Marketers Association

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Recent comments

  • frustrated
    January 27, 2011 - 10:46

    i think there are to many fam not needing help that take advantage of the pro and then that leaves less money for the fam that realy need it.

  • Mrs. "Brownie"
    January 26, 2011 - 05:48

    Many Islanders are juat One paycheck away from a financial crisis. ARE YOU ONE OF THEM? CANADA Is a freezing Cold Northern Country it's 3rd world Inhumane for people to be without heat during Autumn AND Winter And early Spring Months and be homeless any AND every Month of the year. You can tell a person's true charactor, the type of person they are by the way they treat our most vulnerable people in Our society, in Our neighborhood, in Our province. People, including the people within & associated to Our provincial AND federal governments who put down, spew dislike AND predjudice against the poor, the disabled IMO cannot be trusted, Those type uncouth people turn my stomach, make me want to hurl. The same way I wouldn't hire AND WOULD find a way to fire those type people that spew hate toward the poor, Our less fortunate people ALSO dictates Who I Vote For. People in Politics, people WHO Take may eat better, BUT People WHO Give, sleep better. Robert Ghiz, it is Inhumane person, a Third World politician - government that Allows their 'fellow man to go WITHOUT The Neccesities Of Life in THE Freezing cold Northern country of Canada. Prince Edward Island, Canada.

  • four change
    January 26, 2011 - 02:32

    I honestly believe that cutting $30,000 from this heating oil budget was wrong and is wrong and should be reversed. This program has been given to the Salvation Army to administer to lessen the pain to families who need short term assistance and should be respected by government. Take note that with governments withdrawal from services it has resulted in the private sector volunteers increasing their donations. "The P.E.I. Petroleum Marketers Association also chipped in with 6,800 litres of heating oil, which was 1,200 litres more than what its affiliate oil companies gave for 2010." Shame for this loss of service. $30.000 could ease the hardship to a lot of families and help reduce their debt load rather then increase it if they can even get the credit.

  • Thaddeus Sholto
    January 25, 2011 - 17:30

    Somehow GOOD, I really don't believe that story. People like you and many others go out of their way to try to vilify those on low income or social assistance. Why you think the poor should not have a computer or TV is beyond me. You seem to think the poor and low income should be living in squalor. I know you only use your computer to spit out your brand of garbage, but having a computer these days is essential for eduction, looking for work and yes entertainment. Even the poor need and deserve entertainment. Your attitude toward the less fortunate is disgusting and is a typical right wing position - if you are poor then it is your own fault and a failure of will and you don't deserve help. I really pity you and your bleak view of the world.

  • NOT ALL THE GOVS FAULT
    January 25, 2011 - 12:34

    I understand where GOOD is coming from.I've done work in the past with those "In need" and while the majority did indeed have their backs against the wall (some stories would break your heart) there were ALWAYS a few who took advantage.Brand new TV,two cars in the drive, & the usual layabouts,drinking beer on the brand new sofa,smoking like it was a cure for cancer,waiting for the bingo hall to open...all the while sucking the system dry.I feel for those really in need.

  • Bil from the Hill
    January 25, 2011 - 11:15

    Grassroots Islanders get the dirty end of the stick again from the Ghiz Govt.

  • M Butler
    January 25, 2011 - 09:47

    I find it funny that there is always lots of money available for new liquor stores or to stuff into the pockets of the Liberal government, but never enough money for good programs like this to help the poor people heat their homes in the winter so they don't freeze. There is something seriously wrong with this picture!!! What is wrong with government and the rich snobs that control government....how come they can't fund good programs like this. Its no different than the caring cupboard or food banks.

  • Ruddy Beth
    January 25, 2011 - 09:25

    Ghiz fattened every Liberal with PNP, construction and waste management contracts, and loads of board appointments ( Chris Higgins) and now he is broke.They paid people to grab immigrant dollars and most of us never saw a dime of all those hundreds of millions. Now Ghiz has Wes Sheridan going around trying to get people to attack civil servants as a diversion from their own greed and incompetence. You can bet plans are made for further gifts to big Liberals. Poor people can just suffer and freeze, I guess. They cut the heating program but they did not cut their own salaries nor travel expenses on big trips nor gifts to their friends. They drove us into a debt hole we will never get out of and didn't even bother to take care of poor people who are freezing in their homes.This is really terrible.

  • Opinions Matter
    January 25, 2011 - 08:57

    This article goes to show the sad reality that government is out of touch with it's constituents. Why are we taxing home heating? Greed rules and all else can pay cash....

  • Hey U
    January 25, 2011 - 08:20

    Really hard to figure this out. It seems we have our priorities all wrong. Very mean sprited for this government to cut this meagre budget at such a time. They effectively cut this meagre sum by 33 per cent. Yesterday Minister Sheridan was asking to cut waste. Let's give these poor people back there money and cancell the police program for Island students.

  • Hey U
    January 25, 2011 - 08:16

    Really hard to figure this out. It seems we have our priorities all wrong. Very mean sprited for this government to cut this meagre budget at such a time. They effectively cut this meagre sum by 33 per cent. Yesterday Minister Sheridan was asking to cut waste. Let's give these poor people back there money and cancell the police program for Island students.

  • Couldn't get help
    January 25, 2011 - 07:30

    I tried to get help last week but was told that if you were on welfare in the last year even if your not on it now your out of luck.Not fair! I wasn't on welfare because they deamed my EI to high and wasn't eligible for assistance yet my EI wasn't enough for all my bill AND oil.I had to borrow money to heat my house.Wish they would change the policy.

  • Jarrod
    January 25, 2011 - 06:57

    Great timing!

  • Former Liberal
    January 25, 2011 - 06:23

    Hard to believe with oil prices nearly at an all time high, and poverty deeper and more harsh than any time since the 'Dirty Thirties', that Robert Ghiz woud cut oil from the poorest of the poor. Save money indeed Mr. Sheridan. If this is the kind of government Islanders continue to support, than what a miserable little place we have become. Certainly very disappointing news to read first thing in the morning. Truly shameful!

  • GOOD
    January 25, 2011 - 04:53

    My uncle drives an oil truck and two winters ago he was dropping oil off at one of these "needy" homes-he met the owners in their driveway as he went with the delivery-they had their bags packed and were heading to Domincan for a week-I feel for those that truly need the oil-but you can thank those who abused the system for being cold!

    • Roland Watts
      January 25, 2011 - 08:19

      This is nearly hate mail buddy. I stood in line for the 300 litres of oil and I talked with the people in the line with me... I walk in those shoes and it isn't very nice. Sign your real name if you are spewing forth such HATE!

    • GOOD
      January 25, 2011 - 15:57

      I'm sorry-but people do take advantage of these types of things...I see you have a computer to email? Probably have cable TV/smoke or maybe have the odd drink too?