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Fund Seniors Rely On For Heat Assistance Is Almost Empty

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Emergency Fund for Older Philadelphians provides fuel or other emergency assistance to low-income seniors and it’s feeling the bite of the frigid temperatures. The fund is almost empty.

“The oil had run out and I was in dire straits,” said this 75-year-old retired social worker who didn’t want to reveal her name.

But when a car accident ended her career last May, she found herself without the cash to fill her 200 gallon oil tank to heat her home. With sub-zero wind chills, she was referred to the fund, which gave her $300 for 100 gallons of oil.

“I don’t know where I would be at this time if it were not available to me,” she said.

The emergency fund is supported by various non-profits, corporations and donations and they’re spending $2000 a day on oil, says Holly Lange of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

“We’ve actually helped 234 households with fuel oils and that amount added up to 83,000,” Lange said the money is dwindling, with the fund spending 70-percent of its budget heating homes.

“The fund only has 15,000 left.”

Last year, they spent $250,000 heating home for seniors and Lange says they’re afraid they won’t have the money to help seniors this year.

“We need help,” she says, noting they get roughly 400 calls for assistance a day.

If you’re a senior that needs help or you’d like to donate– call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or visit keepseniorswarm.org.

 

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