For some, finding shelter and affording heat in bitter cold weather in New England can be a tough challenge.
For 103-year-old Palmesois Benoit of West Roxbury, and his 60-year-old daughter Fausta who cares for him, this cold snap means cranking the heat – which is not always possible to afford on his $300 social security check and her roughly $300 in pay as a home care assistant each month.
So they often rely on space heaters to keep them warm.
But thanks to help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program through Action for Boston Community Development, or ABCD, they just got their second oil tank fill up of the season.
Fausta Benoit said, “I call ABCD, they helped me to get 150 gallons oil.”
And they’re not alone.
ABCD helps out roughly 30,000 people in the Boston area each winter, like Back Bay resident Donna Smith who applied for assistance today.
Smith said, “I probably would have to go without heat because I can’t afford to keep it up.”
ABCD president John Drew says the problem is this year’s federal funding is less than last year’s, so if we continue to see cold weather, that assistance could freeze itself.
Drew said, “We’ll probably have ten thousand or so households totally out of benefits by January, or sooner.”