July 25, 2008
The University of Maine at Fort Kent will host “Cold Hard Facts of the Coming Winter - A Call for Community Action 2008 Summit” on Monday, August 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Nadeau Hall teleconference room.
The program is intended for municipal mangers, emergency response and public safety professionals, faith leaders and clergy, medical facility administrators, community leaders, and social services staff.
Aroostook Agency on Aging, ACAP, Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency and United Way of Aroostook is sponsoring this discussion among community leaders who believe there is a real potential for some people to freeze in their homes. These organizations do not have all the answers, but by coming together they may be able to identify collaborative community actions that will prevent or minimize such tragedies.
Survival through the coming winter is questionable for some our most vulnerable community members.
There are some cold hard facts of the coming winter in northern Maine. We know that 80% of residential homes are heated with #2 fuel oil and kerosene; prices for #2 fuel oil and kerosene are at historical highs and, for the average home at current pricing, it will take $4, 750 to $5,300 to buy fuel for the winter. Many working people will be hard challenged to pay for the cost of home heating and will not qualify for any government assistance.
Nearly one out of every five elderly people lives on an income less than $900 a month. It will take more than their gross income in a winter month to buy a tank of fuel. Buying fuel, food or medicine will be life or death decision for some.
Poverty levels for Aroostook families significantly exceed Maine proportions. One in five Aroostook children resides in a home below poverty level ($338 gross per week for a family of three). Demand on LIHEAP will be unprecedented but the benefit may only help low-income people with about one tank of fuel.
Those public officials, community leaders and EMS professionals wishing to attend this important summit should RSVP to the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency at 207-439-4328.