Project Warmth helps low-income residents stay warm in bitter cold

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Michelle Charlesworth has more details from Long Island.

As the frigid weather blankets the Tri-State area, many residents are struggling to stay warm amidst the costs of home heating.

Thankfully for many who otherwise couldn't afford it, one group is there to help.

Boiling water and baking in the oven are just two ways married mother-of-three Richelle Nelson keeps her North Bellmore home warm.

"I try to heat the house up with either using the oven or water on top just to keep the air moist," she said.

Nelson keeps the house around 62 degrees and keeps everyone in sweats to stay warm. But without Project Warmth, she says the house would be freezing.

Nelson and her husband both work full time, while she also goes to school, and they need help paying the bills.

"We're a married family with three children," she said. "Both of us work full time, and I go to school at night. And we just don't have enough money to pay all the bills."

In Rockville Centre, people lined up to get help paying heating bills. This year, 1,400 Long Island families are getting help with their heating bills from Project Warmth through the United Way of Long Island, the National Grid Foundation and the Hispanic Brotherhood. And those families include 1,500 kids.

The heat goes to the people, while the bills go straight to Project Warmth.

"This program attempts to help people whose incomes are near and around $40,000, $50,000 a year," said Theresa Regnante, of the United Way Long Island. "Many people are struggling in this region."

And the recipients are grateful.

"It just helped to allow us to make our mortgage payment in full and not have to worry about our three children, worrying about whether they were going to be sleeping in slumber bags along with extra pairs of socks because we didn't have an oil delivery that month," Nelson said.

For more information and to find out if you are eligible, call 211.
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