Relief from the Cold: United Way’s Project Warmth is Now Open

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Program provides grants directly to oil and utility companies on behalf of those facing a heating emergency

One out of three households on Long Island do not earn enough to make ends meet, affecting their ability to heat their homes during the bitter winter months. United Way of Long Island’s Project Warmth has helped nearly 200 families, heat their homes since the program opened on Dec. 4, and with the frigid temperatures currently affecting our area, the critical need for this program is at its height.

As Long Island’s only non-governmental, Islandwide emergency heating fund, Project Warmth is available all winter as a safety net for individuals and families who are facing energy insecurity and are unable to pay their heating bill. The program provides a one-time grant payment directly to oil and utility companies on behalf of the family, allowing them to use their available funds to pay for essentials like food or medication.

“More than 250,000 families on Long Island struggle to afford basics like food, transportation and medical care,” explained Theresa A. Regnante, president and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “During the winter months, the added financial stress of heat can shatter their budget—especially when they are already living paycheck-to-paycheck. Project Warmth eliminates dangerous choices such as leaving the stove on, or using space heaters for these families. Children don’t need to sleep in their winter coats, seniors don’t need to keep their oven burning to stay warm. Parents feel secure knowing that they can now afford their other critical monthly expenses.”

Those in need of assistance can call United Way’s 2-1-1 Long Island helpline by dialing 2-1-1 or 888-774-7633 seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to be connected to a United Way partner agency that will help them apply for a Project Warmth grant. Participating agencies can also be found by visiting www.211longisland.org using the keyword “Project Warmth”.

To support Project Warmth, visit www.unitedwayli.org/ProjectWarmth and designate the donation to Project Warmth. Since it’s inception in 1994, Project Warmth has helped nearly 30,000 families stay warm in the winter.

United Way of Long Island advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, financial stability and health.

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