Bergeron’s agency, which oversees aid in Rockingham County, said the program is important to the state’s vulnerable, including older residents on fixed incomes.
“I speak to people every day who are in fear – severe fear – they are so afraid they won’t get assistance and will basically freeze,” Bergeron said.
The reality for a lot of people is a choice among necessities such as heat, food and medicine, she said.
“Heat is such a basic thing in your life,” Bergeron said. “It breaks my heart to hear their stories.”
The campaign’s analysis of the New Hampshire program found 31 percent of clients were elderly, 28 percent disabled and 22 percent children under 5 years old. The average household benefit was $700.
Homeowners or renters may qualify for benefits ranging from $150 to $1,125 during the heating season. The benefits are grants. People don’t have to repay them.
Eligibility is determined by household income and size, as well as annual heating costs.
People who want to apply in Rockingham County can call 965-3029 in Derry or 893-9172 in Salem.
The New Hampshire 211 number for health and human services – dial 2-1-1 – also can put them in touch with the fuel aid program.