Clara is an 83-year-old senior citizen who was referred to Lima/Allen Council on Community Affairs (LACCA) by Job & Family Services Adult Protective Services Unit because she did not have heat in her home during the coldest period of the winter.
LACCA knew that Clara had been approved for assistance with her heating through the Winter Crisis Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides a one-time payment to restore services that have been disconnected, but her services had not been restored. They contacted the utility company and were informed that Dominion had discovered that Clara had a gas leak. Services were disconnected until she could repair the leak, but Clara did not have the funds to have the leak fixed. This also prevented access to her gas stove. To get some relief from the frigid temperatures, Clara was utilizing a portable heater and a kerosene heater, which she was also using to warm food.
Clara didn’t have a telephone either, so a LACCA intake specialist just showed up on her door step in the hopes that she would be available. The intake specialist assessed Clara’s needs and worked to get services started. A call was placed to a weatherization agency to discuss a possible resolution, but LACCA was informed that the client had to have active service in order to receive services in the weatherization program. LACCA also reached out to Dominion to reach a resolution. They had technicians on the scene immediately, assessing what they could do to restore gas service.
LACCA staff eventually paid a local plumber to fix the gas leak out of Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) emergency service funds. The plumber gave LACCA a considerable discount. Dominion Gas employees paid for a new electric stove for this customer out of their own pockets so that she could cook again. While this work was getting done, Dominion and LACCA employees made sure she had several hot meals.
From the time LACCA received the call from Adult Protective Services until heat was restored to Clara’s home took under 24 hours. LACCA worked with the community to help meet the needs of this desperate senior citizen.
For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.