We Answer Your FAQs About the W.A.R.M Program

Imagine this:

It’s a chilly day. Maybe the weather forecast calls for snow flurries. You turn up the thermostat and relax on the couch with a Netflix feature or a good book.

You may take for granted that you’re able to easily get the warmth you need.

For some Rocky Mount residents, that’s not always the case.

That’s why the city of Rocky Mount has the W.A.R.M program, which supports residents 60 years of age or older and those who are struggling financially.

We’ll take a closer look at the W.A.R.M program, who qualifies, how to apply and what you can do to help.

What is the W.A.R.M Program?

W.A.R.M. stands for the Winter Assistance for Rocky Mount Program, is an extension of the UAP (Utility Assistance Program).

It provides assistance for city utility customers in the form of a one-time payment up to $200. To be eligible, customers must be able to demonstrate a documented crisis that has resulted in past due heating expenses. 

Part of the program's intake and approval process is administered by the Salvation Army.

The program is available January through May.

An interesting fact: one of the people who was influential in helping start the W.A.R.M program was Herman Boone, the Rocky Mount native whose life was the basis for the movie Remember the Titans where Boone was portrayed by Denzel Washington. 

Who Is Eligible for the W.A.R.M. Program?

There are several eligibility requirements someone must meet before they can apply to receive W.A.R.M benefits.

These requirements include:

  • They must be a city residential utility customer.
  • Their primary source of heat must be electric or gas.
  • They must be either 60 years old or older, disabled, or unemployed within the last 90 days due to layoffs, downsizing or company closings.

The applicant’s household also must meet certain criteria. It must be experiencing –or have experienced—a documented crisis. This includes:

  • Expenses related for emergency home/auto repair.
  • An unexpected medical expense.
  • An increase of at least 20 percent in monthly utilities due to seasonal changes.
  • The household must have a gross monthly income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. For each additional person in the household, add $560 to this number.

You can learn more about the federal poverty level by reviewing the income reference table at the city’s website. 

Funds are given to the utility provider, and not the individual. 

Who Pays for the W.A.R.M Program?

This program is totally supported by sponsors and community donations.

How Do I Apply for the W.A.R.M Program?

All you have to do is visit the city’s website for information on utility assistance. 

This not only provides information on the W.A.R.M program but gives additional resources on where you can find other assistance.

You can also get more information by calling the assistance office at 252-972-1250.

How Can I Contribute to the W.A.R.M. Program?

Contributing is easy and all donations are 100 percent tax deductible. In addition, all contributions stay within the local Rocky Mount community. 

If you’re a Rocky Mount utilities customer, it’s easy to make a contribution by adding $1 or more to your bill and completing an enrollment form. Another option is to “round up “ your bill to the nearest dollar. 

You can also contribute online. 

Larger and lump sum donations are also accepted. 

W.A.R.M also provides sponsorship opportunities to promote companies on the city website and media campaigns.

If you want to leave a legacy to the W.A.R.M. program, planned giving is also another option. There are no minimum gift levels.

You can also mail contributions to:

The City of Rocky Mount W.A.RM. Program
Business and Collections Services
P.O. Box 1180
Rocky Mount, NC 27802

5 Tips for Keeping Your Home Energy Efficient

Everyone can benefit from a refresher on how to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Some useful advice on keeping your home energy efficient include:

Use a programmable thermostat.

This means it will automatically adjust while you’re away to ensure it’s not too hot or cold. During the winter, keep your thermostat on 69 degrees and summer 79 degrees. In some cases, you may save as much as $180 a year. 

Use sunlight to your advantage.

Let the sunshine in! In the winter, take advantage of Mother Nature’s natural heat source by opening your blinds in winter. Likewise, close them in the summer. 

Seal your air ducts.

If there’s a problem with leaky air ducts, your power system is working overtime to get the desired temperature.

Cover drafty windows.

You’d be surprised by how much air comes into an area through poorly sealed windows and doors. Make sure these are covered or sealed. 

Pay close attention to the fireplace.

Remember the damper should always be closed (well, unless a fire is burning, of course!) Think of your damper as a window---when it’s open, it’s allowing cold air inside. 

Want more tips? Did you know that you can sign up for a free energy audit!  These audits may help you find energy-saving solutions that you’ve overlooked. 

Follow these and other additional tips to ensure you have a warm—and affordable—winter.

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