Cold weather help available for city residents

1/5/2018, 12:17 p.m.
Richmond’s brutal chill will get even more frigid as the temperature continues to drop into the single digits during the ...

By Ronald E. Carrington

Richmond’s brutal chill will get even more frigid as the temperature continues to drop into the single digits during the next few days.

The city’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be open through Monday, Jan. 8, and each night when temperatures are forecast to be at 40 degrees or below. Located in the city’s former Public Safety Building at 501 N. 9th St., the shelter opens at 7 p.m. and closes the following morning at 10 a.m.

People who need overnight shelter must report first to Commonwealth Catholic Charities at 511 W. Grace St. for a comprehensive intake and referral. Shelter registration is from 7 to 9 p.m.

For individuals who are not eligible for existing shelters, or if all available beds have been filled, Commonwealth Catholic Charities will provide a referral to the city’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter. Food is not provided and pets are not allowed in the city’s overflow shelter.

Senior Connections, the Capital Area Agency on Aging, can help elderly and disabled residents with cold weather needs through referrals to various agencies. Please call (804) 343-3000 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dominion Energy also has an EnergyShare program to help homeowners and apartment dwellers who have difficulty paying their higher than expected heating bills during extreme cold weather.

“EnergyShare can help with paying for gas, electric or oil,” Janell Hancock, senior communications specialist with Dominion Energy, told the Free Press. “Just call Dominion’s call center at (866) 366-4357 and talk to someone to determine eligibility.”

She said if electric customers are in danger of being disconnected, Dominion Energy also will work to establish a payment plan so residents can stay connected as they pay down the balance over time.

The company also is promoting energy conservation efforts as a way to control heating costs.

“If customers get weather stripping and seal up cracks and windows, or turn the thermostat down to keep temperatures lower during the day, that can save money,” said Ms. Hancock.

Dominion Energy also suggests people change their furnace filters regularly to help their heating systems work more efficiently, which will lower costs in the short and long term.