News Feature

The Island
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 7, 2013
Island Heating Assistance Program exhausting funds, seeking more

The Island Heating Assistance Program (IHAP) has provided fuel for 58 families and individuals from October 2012 through January 2013. IHAP is a community initiative to provide fuel to families and individuals struggling to pay the high cost of heating their homes during cold Maine winters. With our recent cold temperatures, more people are reaching out for assistance and the fund is running low, according to a news release from the organization.

In 2012, 137 donors contributed more than $25,000. One hundred percent of donated funds go to fuel costs for families in need. The Deer Isle Sunset Congregational Church and Bar Harbor Bank and Trust cover all overhead and administrative costs. A volunteer committee oversees policy and procedure. It costs $350 to $425 per delivery, depending on the current fuel costs and the type of fuel needed.

Those seeking assistance can call pastor Amy Vaughn at the Deer Isle Sunset Congregational Church, 348-6602, to make a request.

“We work closely with all of the fuel dealers on the island to respond to requests promptly,” said Vaughn. “This program does not require paperwork or a complicated application process. If you live on the island and need assistance and we have funds available, you will receive 100 gallons of fuel. I am often able to help people access other supports and services so that they are less likely to require emergency assistance in the future.”

IHAP suggests that those requesting assistance be at or below a quarter of a tank and encourages those who think they may need fuel assistance to sign up for Low Income Heating Assistance (LIHEAP) at Washington Hancock Community Agency as well. Those seeking LIHEAP funding should call 664-2424 as soon as possible to request an appointment. The LIHEAP process takes four to six weeks for approval.

On February 1, the Island Heating Assistance Program began considering second requests for assistance. The program will run until April 15 this year or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. If you can help support this program, please send a check to IHAP, P.O. Box 383, Stonington, ME 04681.