Home heating program heats up after P.E.I. increases eligibility

Sandokhan Cleare, who helps administer the provincial home heating program for the Salvation Army, says applications are beginning to come in. (Shane Ross/CBC - image credit)
Sandokhan Cleare, who helps administer the provincial home heating program for the Salvation Army, says applications are beginning to come in. (Shane Ross/CBC - image credit)

The Salvation Army on P.E.I. is hiring a few more people to help manage the expected increased volume of calls and applications for the provincial home heating program.

Last week, the province announced it was bumping the assistance as well as expanding the eligibility requirement.

Beginning Dec. 1, new applicants can receive $1,200 in assistance for the remainder of 2022, up from $1,000. On Jan. 1, their accounts reset and they are eligible to reapply for $1,200 for the 2023 calendar year.

As well, existing clients are eligible for a one-time top-up of $1,000 for the month of December, even if they already received money from the programs in 2022.

The income thresholds are also going up. Individuals with an annual income of $45,000 or less and families with a total income of $60,000 or less now qualify.

The funding can be used for any source of home heating.

"People are going to have a bit of a weight lifted from them, honestly.," Lt. John Burton of the Salvation Army in Charlottetown.

"Just from conversations that I've had with people now that they are finding out about this extra funding... and the fact that they will be able to reapply in 2023.... I think it's going to make a huge impact on people in terms of how they'll be able to heat their homes."

Sandokhan Cleare, who helps administer the program for the Salvation Army, said calls, visits and emails from people are beginning to come in since the announcement.

He's also reaching out to people who have applied in the past to let them know about the increased funding.