Salvation Army’s HEAT fund gets additional $1.5M to help keep Nova Scotians warm

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An initiative through the Salvation Army that helps get Nova Scotians out of the cold during the winter is getting a financial boost to the tune of $1.5 million.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Salvation Army Maritime Division said the 2021 Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund is receiving the donation from Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link Inc.

The $1.5 million is in addition to the annual contributions of $800,000 from the provincial government and $200,000 from Nova Scotia Power.

Read more: Nova Scotia support groups see influx in calls for energy bill assistance

Major Jamie Locke, a spokesperson for The Salvation Army’s Maritime Division, expects the additional funds will allow them help out more than 6,000 Nova Scotian households this winter.

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“We’ve noticed throughout the holiday season in our interactions with the clients and the people that we serve that needs have certainly increased throughout the pandemic,” said Locke.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer this enhanced program this year.”

Click to play video 'N.S. Power heat assistance program sees influx of applicants' N.S. Power heat assistance program sees influx of applicants
N.S. Power heat assistance program sees influx of applicants – Oct 30, 2020

The HEAT fund provides financial assistance to low-income individuals and families in emergency need of home heating assistance.

This year, the income thresholds have changed to assist more people. They’re now set at $29,000 for one-person households, $47,703 for two to four person households, and $67,937 for households of five or more individuals

The Salvation Army says last year’s initiative helped more than 3,500 households with emergency funding, which can be as much as $400 per applicant.

“We feel that the adjustments that we’ve made to the program as well the infusion of additional funds will help us reach more people,” said Locke.

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Read more: NS Power will keep the lights on during COVID-19, even if bills are unpaid

Nova Scotia Power says they recognize the struggle customers are facing this year and are happy to be able to reach a record number of customers this year.

“We believe everyone deserves a warm home, and the HEAT fund is just one of the ways we’re working to do that, along with The Salvation Army and the province,” said Kathryn O’Neill, Nova Scotia Power’s community engagement manager.

The Salvation Army says anyone looking to apply for the fund can do so by visiting their website.

Locke added that anyone looking for help or assistance in other areas are encouraged to reach out to their local Salvation Army, where staff will be able to provide them with the help they need.