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Heating Assistance through the Good Neighbor Energy Fund

The sponsors of the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund and its administrator, United Way of Rhode Island, are encouraging households experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic or another crisis to request heating assistance through the Fund.  Those in need can determine their eligibility for the Fund by contacting their local Community Action Program (CAP) or calling United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline.

Rhode Island’s Good Neighbor Energy Fund is a safety net for households in crisis who are having trouble paying their energy bills.  The state’s CAP agencies determine household eligibility for the Fund based on household size and total household income not exceeding 300 percent of the federal poverty level.  For example, a household of four is eligible if its annual income does not exceed $78,600, while a household of six cannot exceed $105,480.  Grants to individual households are determined by fuel type and need, and can be up to $650 per heating season.

“There is heightened urgency of need for assistance with home heating expenses due to the combination of cold temperatures and the ongoing impact of COVID-19.  We encourage families or individuals who are struggling to dial United Way’s 2-1-1 call center for information about the Good Neighbor Energy Fund and for help identifying their local CAP agency to determine eligibility,” said Mike Kirkwood, Chairperson of the 2020-21 Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund, and General Manager & CEO of Pascoag Utility District.

“So many in our community have been struggling throughout this unpredictable time, and now with arrival of winter, there is a new level of anxiety among our neighbors who are worried about being able to afford to heat their homes,” added Cortney Nicolato, United Way’s President and CEO. “No Rhode Islander should ever hesitate to call 2-1-1 for help if they’re in need.”

In addition to the various giving programs of Fund sponsors – Block Island Utility District, National Grid, Ocean State Power, Pascoag Utility District, Petro Home Services, and RISEC LP – the Fund’s “Warm Thy Neighbor” campaign relies on the generosity of individuals, families and local businesses for support.  Rhode Islanders most often support the Fund via the yellow donation envelopes that are enclosed with energy bills through the end of February.  Those interested in donating to the Fund can also visit www.rhodeislandgoodneighbor.org, text “WARM” to 91999 on their mobile phone or send a check payable to “Good Neighbor Energy Fund” to Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund, c/o United Way of Rhode Island, 50 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02909.

United Way of Rhode Island is changing lives and strengthening our communities by investing in proven programs that work over the short-term, and are scalable over the long-term. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDri.org.

About Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund

Since its establishment in 1986, the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund has raised over $15 million and helped over 46,250 local households in need of energy assistance.  For more information about the Good Neighbor Energy Fund or to receive assistance, contact either the United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island help line or a local Community Action Program (CAP) agency.

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