Westfield woman unable to reach fuel assistance program after fu - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

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Westfield woman unable to reach fuel assistance program after furnace breaks

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

A low-income resident has been living with a broken furnace for more than ten days.

Deb Godbout tells Western Mass News she receives fuel assistance from Valley Opportunity Council (VOC), an agency that, according to their website, is "dedicated to eliminating poverty."

"I'm low income like a lot of people," Godbout said.

When her furnace started making noise nearly two weeks ago, she called her fuel provider, Fuel Services.

"I went to turn it on and it didn't kick in, so they came out again, Fuel Services, and again, I thought it was fixed and it wasn't," Godbout explained.

A spokesperson for Fuel Services told Western Mass News they sent someone to Godbout’s home a few times and her system needs replacement.

Godbout says she wants VOC to help her pay for the replacement, but she has been unable to reach them.

"They're just impossible to reach at all for any reason," Godbout explained.

A reporter at Western Mass News called VOC several times Monday, dialing many different extensions, to no avail.

Back in January, Western Mass News met a West Springfield resident who'd been living without a working furnace for nearly a year, after he said he, too, got the run-around from Valley Opportunity Council.

After that story aired, our viewers donated and installed a brand new furnace for Raymond Benoit, a retired veteran in his 80s.

Like Benoit did, Godbout keeps warm using electric heaters.

"It's just cold in here.  I know it's spring and it's getting nicer, but during the night, it's cold.  I do have a couple of space heaters, but they don't really do the trick and, of course, you have it running at night and you're nervous trying to sleep," Godbout explained.

During the night, Godbout has been wearing extra layers and snuggling with her dog, Abby.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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