SUMMERSIDE — The Summerside Salvation Army will begin taking applications for its home heating assistance program on Jan. 13.
“It starts 9 o’clock Monday morning and it is going to be run from the food bank,” said the Salvation Army’s Karen Mallett. “It’s going to be mad.”
Mallett has been fielding calls since September from those looking for help through the annual program, which has been in existence since 2008.
With the holiday season over, those calls have increased to up to five a day.
Mallett said the frigid cold temperatures last week are likely draining oil tanks and budgets, leaving some out in the cold.
The Salvation Army has, in a couple of emergency cases, provided oil to those in need over the past week. But, added Mallett, no applications are going to be accepted for the home heating assistance program until Monday.
“We get $40,000. That’s for all of Prince County, not just Summerside,” she said, adding applications will be reviewed to see where the need is greatest and not necessarily on a first-come-first-serve basis. “I take the applications in and we look over them and tell them we will get back to them in 48 hours. We try to do the ones that qualify first and then I will call the oil company we are dealing with and say these people need oil.”
The province has committed to allotting $121,000 in its annual budget towards the program. The remainder will be given out by the Charlottetown Salvation Army to aid those in Kings and Queens Counties eligible for a one-time 400-litre oil delivery.
Last year, throughout the Island, the $121,000 the province committed to the program helped 270 households.
Currently, oil is at $1.15 per litre after taking a two-cent-per-litre jump last week. This time last year, oil was at $1.06 per litre and, the same time in 2012, was $1.05 per litre, which was 33 cents per litre higher than in 2011.
Anyone applying must do so in person at the Salvation Army’s location on the All Weather Highway. They have a copy of their most recent income tax return, health-care cards for each member of the household, the expiry date and tag number for their oil tank and must not be in receipt of social assistance, living in low-income housing or have a CMHC mortgage.
The P.E.I. Petroleum Marketer’s Association, in recent years, has contributed thousands of litres of home heating oil to the program and there have been donations from individual suppliers.
Mallett expects people to be lined up outside the door Monday morning waiting to fill out an application and the money spent in less than two days.