NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Naugatuck Valley residents who are worried about heating their homes sat down with officials in Derby.

Congress has allocated millions in energy assistance, but many people are worried it is still not enough. A woman named Christina says the state gave her a budget of $600 in heating assistance.

“We got out first delivery of just under a half a tank of oil and we are already over that budget,” she said.

She got that help from TEAM, Inc. in Derby, which hosted this roundtable. The community agency has already seen 3,000 applications for heating assistance. That’s up 11% year to year.

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd District) touted how Congress got a billion dollars in the budget for low-income heating help. That means a total of $86 million for Connecticut families to help heat their homes.

“They’re not dogging it. They’re not stopping working,” Delauro said. “They’re not taking advantage of the system. They are just struggling day by day, paycheck to paycheck.”
Living paycheck to paycheck keeps getting tougher and tougher because those paychecks don’t go as far.

“Because of inflation, demand is greater. The cost of heating oil is going up,” said State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Minority Leader). “So even if we had stayed status quo, we’re still not meeting demand. We’re falling behind.”

Falling behind means tough choices for people like Christina.

“I’m really worried about what that means for our family and the decision that we will have to make,” she said. “You know, are we going to pay our mortgage this month, or are we goin to heat our home?”

If you think you are eligible, don’t wait to apply. There are several ways you can apply. You can walk into your local Community Action Agency. You can call 211 to find out where your local Community Action Agency is, or you can click here: