Arctic blast has some people seeking emergency heating assistance

FITCHBURG, Mass — The first real arctic blast of the season is expected to hit in the coming days. Emergency heat assistance is expected to be in big demand.

Nathan White was grabbing groceries at the Market Basket in Fitchburg.

“Just survive. It’s getting colder and colder every day,” said White.

Some people say with so many costs up – it’s going to be expensive to stay warm.

“I’m worried about the rest of the year, the rest of the winter months,” said White.

At the Salvation Army in Fitchburg, they are finalizing all of the ways they will help people with emergency needs. They have multiple rooms in their building that regularly open as warming stations during the day. The Salvation Army statewide also helps people keep their thermostats on.

Envoy Lynnette Valentine-Warren says the dropping temps are not the only concern.

“I’m paying 70 percent more in my electric bill and we are wearing sweatshirts and we are covered in blankets and the heat is at 63. It is very difficult for some people right now,” said Valentine-Warren.

The Salvation Army says statewide their Good Neighbor Energy Fund has seen a 49 percent increase in requests for help compare to this time last year. The main reason – inflation. “It could be a hardship, it could be anything,” said Valentine-Warren.

Valentine-Warren says even with more people asking for help. She’s worried there’s so many out there who are too humble to ask. As the temperatures dip to dangerous levels later this week, many social service agencies are anticipating bigger demand.

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