Project Warmth Recipient
Denise is a strong-willed, full-time working mom of three children... all live at home and all depend on her, which presents its own challenges. But six years ago tragedy struck when Denise’s house was significantly damaged in a fire, which left her and her family in a dire situation. She is still struggling to rebuild her life after this tragedy. More recently, she is caring for her ill mother.
Given the complex challenges in her circumstance, Denise needed extra help, so she reached out to United Way of Long Island’s community partner, Choice For All, and applied for Project Warmth. Receiving home heating bill assistance meant Denise could live in a safe, warm home and focus on her work and family life.
“People don’t realize that home ownership has a lot of responsibilities like servicing a home. But I often have to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ to make sure I meet the operational cost of my home and ensure it is safe. By me being able to get assistance is opens doors for me so I can direct my funds to other avenues and home operation costs, such as repairing my broken gutters or paying another monthly bill.”
It’s well-known that Long Island is a high cost of living region… so when unexpected events happen, making ends meet becomes extra challenging. After Denise’s home tragedy in 2013, it was difficult to overcome the financial burden of expenses that insurance does not cover, including costs associated with new living arrangements and removing asbestos discovered post-fire. Today, Denise she still feels the repercussions of battling the work of a poor contractor.
Caring for her children, mother and herself can be draining, but Denise does not want a cold, unsafe home to be an additional stressor. “I’m grateful I got assistance from Project Warmth and was excited that I was eligible. Despite having a full-time income, my salary is too high to qualify for many programs, yet my paycheck doesn’t stretch as much as I want.
As Denise explains, “Life is full of challenges and I am grateful to be able to get this extra support to ensure my family is safe and warm. There’s no reason to be ashamed of asking for help. If I can help another family become empowered to ask for heating assistance, then I’m happy to do so.”
Project Warmth is Long Island’s only non-governmental, island-wide emergency fuel fund; it is a safety net for financially struggling individuals and families who are unable to pay their heating bill, and provides a one-time grant for fuel and/or fuel-related electricity. Since its inception in 1994, Project Warmth has provided more than $10 million in emergency funding to more than 94,000 children and adults. To support Project Warmth and families like Denise's, please make a contribution.
*There are 267,000 households on Long Island living above poverty level but lacking the income and resources needed to afford life’s basic necessities. This population, known as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) falls into a dangerous gap that leaves them without government assistance, but unable to afford housing, food, or child care without help. United Way supports ALICE families through our programs, including Project Warmth.