Cindy is a caretaker and friend to one neighbor, a 70-year-old Air Force Veteran named Ted who lives alone in his home.  Home maintenance brings with it both physical and financial restrictions for seniors, many of whom are living on a small fixed income.

“While many seniors have equity in the homes that they have lived in for most of their lives,” explains Chris Davis, Director of Housing Services, “They don’t have liquid assets, which can hamper their efforts to address the ongoing maintenance needed on their homes, let alone the emergency repairs that arise on expensive systems.” Ted’s budget is tight, which is why he is so thankful for Cindy’s help with his finances, as she is always looking for ways to help Ted stretch his budget. In 2016, Cindy helped Ted receive energy assistance through SNAP.

This winter, Ted found himself in crisis when his furnace began failing. He knew something was wrong when his energy bill was higher than normal. In addition, he was noticing changes in his health. An investigatory visit from Avista revealed that the carbon monoxide levels in Ted’s house were high due to a furnace malfunction. He was told that he needed to turn it off immediately. This left Ted wondering how he would heat his home without a furnace during a Spokane winter. Despite others offering a place to sleep, he chose to stay in his home, relying only on a few electric heaters and a downstairs fireplace to keep him warm.

Cindy started searching for a solution. Spokane County Veterans Services suggested she call SNAP’s Home Repair program which enables low-income homeowners to accomplish minor home repairs, addressing in-home health and safety deficiencies. Zero heat situations are prioritized, especially for seniors. A technician was sent to Ted’s house and a plan was made to replace his furnace with a grant, thanks to a variety of sources including funding from Spokane County, Spokane Valley Rotary and Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington.  A new carbon monoxide detector was also installed by SNAP’s contractor, giving Cindy and Ted additional piece of mind.

“I can’t believe how fast it happened” said Ted, who admits he cried when he heard the news of a new furnace and feels so blessed and grateful for what everyone did on his behalf to help him.

“Ted and I prayed for a miracle” Cindy said, “SNAP ultimately became the incredible and miraculous answer to our prayers”.  Supporters like you make these stories possible.