Energy assistance for low-income Oregon families

by HEAT Oregon
What are Your New Year
What are Your New Year's Resolutions?

It is the time to think of those New Year resolutions –You are asking yourself, what can you I do to be better in 2015? For some of us the resolutions might be to lose a few pounds, get back to the gym, or add an extra workout routine to become more fit. Or maybe it is to become greener in 2015, recycle more, turn down the thermostat and lights when not at home, look into solar or wind power, or even to purchase an electric or hybrid car. I am sure you can think of  lots of ways you can do better in the New Year.

As we all contemplate our resolutions, many Oregonians are just trying to figure out how to keep their heat on and pay their utility bill. Thousands of Oregon families struggle to keep their heat on during the winter months. It is often due to a sudden or unexpected expense like a car repair, a medical bill, new medicine or even an illness. It can also be because the family is under employed or has no income due to a job loss. Whatever the reason, it can force an individual or family to make a very tough decision – do I feed my family, pay all the unexpected bills or keep up with my heating bill. It is not an easy decision to make. Many go without heat!

Last winter, with the help of Global Giving donors, HEAT Oregon helped nearly 10,500 Oregonians with their heat and power. That meant that almost 3,600 families did not have to endure the winter months in a cold and dark home. So far, Global Giving donors have given a total of $6,150 to help their Oregon neighbors who needed heat and power in their homes.

So as we are making those New Year’s resolutions, perhaps we could add an additional resolution to our list and take time to make a donation to help those who are in fear of losing their heat and power. Every donation helps and no one wants to be cold and in the dark in the chilliest part of our year.

So become fit or become greener in the New Year and if you can remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves, make a donation to HEAT Oregon’s Energy Assistance for Low Income Oregon Families Project. All of these resolutions will make us feel better in 2015!

Happy New Year!

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Hot Cocoa by the Hearth
Hot Cocoa by the Hearth

For many of us, the shortening days herald cozy evenings in front of the fire while sipping a hot chocolate. Many of us have a warm home waiting to rescue us from the cold.

But some of our neighbors dread the season. As the sunny days turn to dark and rain, our phone lines at HEAT Oregon have been busier. The calls are from Oregonians who need help paying their energy bills:

  • A man with heart failure called and said his medical bills had tapped his finances, leaving him unable to pay his electricity bill. He had a shut-off notice, despite the fact that his medication needs to be refrigerated.
  • A woman was crying because she was scared and frustrated. She received a shut-off notice because she couldn’t pay her electricity bill. It was a situation she’d never experienced before.
  • A woman with children at home needed help keeping the electricity on until she received her student loan check in the mail. It was set to be shut off before the check arrived.

HEAT Oregon is here to help people who have encountered tough times. But we couldn’t do it without donations from caring Global Giving donors like you. Since the Global Giving Energy Assistance Project started, we helped 60 Oregonians with the $6,100 in donations from Global Giving donors.

In all, we were able to provide assistance to 10,500 individuals last year. On average, a $100 donation will help somebody keep their heat on this winter. No donation is too small; they all add up to an important lifeline for those desperate to keep warm.

So as you sit around the hearth and enjoy your hot cocoa feeling the warmth the fire gives, HEAT Oregon would like to thank you for sharing that warmth with those in need and cannot afford to warm their homes. Thank you for donating to HEAT Oregon.

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Fun in the Summer Sun
Fun in the Summer Sun

Many of you are enjoying the heat of summer and the activities that we love to do in the heat.  Whether it’s a back yard barbecue with friends in the neighborhood, a trip to the local swimming pool with the kids or a fun campout with the entire family at your favorite campground, we are all relishing the fun activities that summer weather allows us to do.  I just want to remind everyone about thoughts of a cold winter and while you are enjoying the outdoors and summer heat, that we can keep in mind that there will be fellow Oregonians needing help this upcoming winter and to set aside a few minutes to donate to HEAT Oregon and help them out.

More than 8,000 low-income people across Oregon received heating assistance from HEAT Oregon this past heating season! With the help of Global Giving donors and all of our other supporters, we were able to help all of these Oregonians with their heat and power between the months of October 1 through this past May 31st.  It takes nearly $100 to help just one person with their heating needs during the winter months.  That means that donors contributed more than $800,000 to our Emergency Energy Assistance Program to help their neighbors and friends to stay warm this last winter.  So Global Givers – know that every single dollar you donate is so important – HEAT Oregon could not assist all who need heating assistance without your help!

HEAT Oregon raises funds year-round to help assist the most critical in need of heat during the winter months.  So as summer heats up and you’re not heating your home right now, please be don’t forget about your friends and neighbors who may need help next winter to heat their homes and donate whatever you can afford today.

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HEAT Oregon - New Look
HEAT Oregon - New Look

Wow, a forecast that says July in May.  According the local meteorologists, we hit a record this first week of May. Our thermometers were pushing 85 degrees.  It just makes you want to get outside and take a hike, do some gardening, go for a bike ride – anything outdoors just sounds great. 

As we look to the spring and summer weather, I want to remind all of our Global Giving donors that even though we are looking to put on our shorts and swim suits and plunge into the neighborhood pool, that we just got over one of the coldest seasons Oregon has seen in years.  With all the cold, wet, windy and yes, the “S” word – snowy weather we had, many of our fellow Oregonians had a really tough time keeping their heat on and keeping their families warm this past winter.

With all of the families and individuals that had trouble keeping their heat on, we have some great news to share.  With the donations that came in from great Global Givers, 20 families did not have to worry about keeping their homes warm.  Since the beginning of the Global Giving Energy Assistance for Low-Income Oregon Families Project started, more than $6,100 has been donated to keep our friends and neighbors warm and the power on in their homes.  All together over the past year, Oregon HEAT has been able to help more than 5,000 families throughout Oregon stay warm and keep their lights on this past winter.  That says a lot about the kindness and thoughtful donors we have who want to help their fellow Oregonians stay warm during the winter months.

Oregon HEAT has some other great news.  This is our 25th Anniversary year.  Oregon HEAT started serving Oregonians with emergency energy assistance back in 1989.  Since then more than 250,000 Oregonians had somewhere to turn to help with heating and power.  At the start of our 25th Anniversary year, Oregon HEAT is also changing its name.  We are now called HEAT Oregon.  This means we are taking more of an active role and as an action statement – we are Heating Oregonians homes during the winter- our new mission statement is “Gifting Warmth and Power to Oregonians facing hardships.”

With all this exciting new news, I can’t say enough thanks to all who have supported HEAT Oregon over these past 25 years and that we look forward to the future and to deepen our relationship with those who already believe in our mission and introduce others to our cause. 

Please join us in our new mission and continue to support us – without you - we cannot help everyone we do.

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How many inches fell at your house?
How many inches fell at your house?

Is it just me or has this winter been really cold and as many of you recently experienced, pretty white as well?  I know here in the Portland metro area, temperatures were breaking records – the highs for the days were in the low to mid-twenties and the lows were down in the teens or single digits.  And of course the “Snowmageddon” came right on top of that – some people saw more than a foot of snow fall on their area.  I hope all of you were able to keep your homes warm and that your power remained on.

Sadly, even as we all experienced a really tough February with all the cold temperatures and the snow, many of our fellow Oregonians had an even tougher time. Oregon HEAT knows that there are thousands of low-income Oregonians that due to financial crises cannot afford to keep their homes warms and have no power.

The reasons that our fellow Oregonians cannot afford to keep their power on and heat supplied to their homes are many.  Oregon HEAT has found that reasons may be based on the fact that the family cannot afford to keep the heat on because of a job loss or maybe they’re working, but not enough hours to pay all the bills or even an illness in the family that attributed to having higher than expected medical bills. No matter what the financial hardship the fact remains that our neighbors could be suffering a very cold winter for themselves and their families because the income or lack thereof does not stretch to pay all the financial obligations.  Oregon HEAT is working hard to alleviate the suffering of so many Oregonians.

Global Giving donors have been a great help in giving hope to folks who are suffering without heat.  Since the Global Giving Emergency Energy Assistance project has begun, $6,100 has been raised to help the folks who are suffering without heat.  That means that 61 fellow Oregonians were able to have a warm home and the power remained on at their household.

 

Oregon HEAT wants to issue a challenge to all our Global Giving donors– Let’s try and make some more of our neighbor’s homes warm and keep their power running by reaching out with another donation – Whatever you can afford – and lets donate today.

Our winter has been cold and our fellow Oregonians that are suffering from the cold need our help. 

 

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Organization Information

HEAT Oregon

Location: Tualatin, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.heatoregon.org
HEAT Oregon
Project Leader:
Ron Bannister
Development Specialist
Tualatin, OR United States

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