The Good Neighbour Energy Fund is helping reduce the winter chill for many Nova Scotia families.
The Salvation Army, Government of Nova Scotia Power and Nova Scotia Power have partnered to provide financial assistance to low income residents who need help with emergency home heating.
“There’s an incredible amount of need,” said Coralee Lewis, public relations coordinator for the Salvation Army Maritime Division, the organization that administers the funds. “The number of people asking for help is growing every year. Last year, the threshold went up for base level income, so more people became eligible.”
Income thresholds for eligibility were increased from $16,000 to $21,000 for one-person households and from $24,000 to $39,000 for homes with four or more people, resulting in 2,518 households receiving support in 2018. This was 34 per cent increase over 2017.
The Salvation Army has been running a heating assistance program for about 20 years. In 1997, Nova Scotia Power became a sponsor, and the Nova Scotia government became a partner in 2007.
“Since they got on board we’ve been able to do a lot more,” said Lewis. “People who are eligible can access this once every two years, and we do our best to assess application and get help to people as soon as possible.
“This gives a sense of relief to people who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Government is contributing up to $800,000 and Nova Scotia Power is providing $150,000.
The maximum assistance amount is $400
The fund runs until April 30. Applications can be found online at www.salvationarmy.ca/maritime/gnef/
People may also be eligible for the Heating Assistance Rebate Program, which helps with up to $200 toward home heating costs. More information is available at www.novascotia.ca/heatinghelp .