Salvation Army will take a look at its home heating assistance program
Salvation Army will take a look at its home heating assistance program.
The Salvation Army on P.E.I. plans to review a program it administers aimed at helping Islanders in need to heat their homes.
The review comes on the heels of concerns raised by a St. Louis mother about accessibility to the program.
Christina Green lives an hour west of Summerside, one of two locations — the second being Charlottetown — where applications for the Salvation Army’s Home Heating Assistance Program can be filled out.
In an interview with the Journal Pioneer, she questioned why applications couldn’t be taken outside the two cities.
“I have all the papers and I can send them in, but I would have to make that hour drive. And I can’t afford that,” she said at the time.
Major Willis Drover, og the Salvation Army in Summerside, said program criteria set out by the organization hasn’t changed since its introduction in 2008.
This year, the province increased the contribution to $136,200. A third of the funds go to the Salvation Army for distribution in Prince County and the Salvation Army in Charlottetown hands out the remainder in Queens and Kings counties.
“We are going to look at the program again and see if there is any way we can change the program or improve it to make it better for everyone,” said Drover.
He said there are “exceptions” where applications do not have to be filled out in person at either Salvation Army location, such as “if you physically can’t get here.”
Drover couldn’t say whether anyone who could benefit from the program, but unable to fill out the form in person, is being missed.
“I do know the majority of the applications we have taken so far are from up west.”
Major Daniel Roode, with the Salvation Army in Charlottetown, wasn’t aware of anyone from Queens and Kings counties coming forward with concerns.
“We are certainly going to look at delivery services as they exist, and we always, at the end of a season, want to review and see how we may be able to do things better,” said Roode. “When you consider that we are doing this program predominately with local staff and volunteer labour, that is something that would be a great challenge for us, to expand into other areas where we currently do not have an office.”
The Department of Family and Human Services that provides the Salvation Army with money for the program forwarded an emailed statement from Rhea Jenkins, its director of social programs after it was asked for comment.
Jenkins wrote: “As with other programs that are provided through our non-governmental organization partners, the terms of a mutually-negotiated contract are signed each year.
“After this season, the department will evaluate the program with our partners and we are open to suggestions from the Salvation Army regarding the terms of the contract.”