‘It absolutely saves lives’ - Rockland launches heat assistance program amid 1st deep freeze

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Officials in Rockland County say they are trying to help community members who are having problems with paying to heat their homes.

Rockland County launched its annual heat assistance program Tuesday, helping low-income families pay for heat as the fall's first deep freeze descends.

News 12 meteorologists say that temperatures across the Hudson Valley are expected to dip as low as the upper teens, with a real-feel in the single digits from Tuesday into Wednesday.

County Social Services Commissioner Joan Silvestri says community members can apply for heat assistance by calling the county and setting up an appointment.

“We're going to try to give you a one-time benefit during the winter months. And then if you get shut off or there is a threat to shut off, we can apply additional grant dollars,” he says. “It absolutely saves lives. We're protecting the most vulnerable people in the county. People should not freeze to death.” 

Not only does the county provide assistance with heating bills, it also gives some people a place to stay when it gets really cold.

A warming center, known as The Inn,  offers 75 beds for people to stay at night and during the day when the temperatures really drop.

“We pick them up in Haverstraw, Nyack and Spring Valley and bring them here,” says Daniel Eudene, of Catholic Charities.

The Inn, located at building D in the Yager Center in Pomona, is where Eudene helps run the warming center for anyone without a home.

The center provides people with a warm bed, hot meal and county resources to help get them back on their feet and into their own home.


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