Local labor union helps Albuquerque seniors with heating

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s that time of year when people start cranking up the heat in their homes, but that can be hard for seniors and people with disabilities.

Members of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local Union 412 got ready Saturday morning to head out and help the community.

"All the folks here –there’s about one hundred hands here today, and it’s a volunteer day for them. This is 100% out of the kindness of their heart. They chose to show up this morning. They’ll go out all day, work their butts off and help the community,” said Courtenay Eichhorst, Union business manager.

Eichhorst said this is the 29th year the union’s been teaming up with the city for "Project Heats On,” a service that would normally cost hundreds of dollars.

"We go out and we turn on heaters for elderly and handicapped folks who need some help. We turn off their air conditioners we turn on their heaters we make sure that they’re safe for the winter, we install smoke detectors, we change lightbulbs we do anything that they need,” said Eichhorst.

The city’s Department of Senior Affairs Director Anna Sanchez said the annual event helps them out too.

"These are seniors that have called in to our information and assistance line and requested some type of home service and so certainly we take those individuals first. To be able to work on our waitlist, this is a tremendous need during the winter months and we’re excited 412 could be able to come out and help us knock a lot of that waiting list down,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez said people can still get help with their HVAC system and many other services that the city offers seniors.

"We do a home delivered meal program, we of course have a tremendous senior and multigenerational center recreational activities, we provide care coordination, we provide an array of community and resources available for folks in our community that are 60 years of age and older,” said Sanchez.

If you also need help – you can call the Department of Senior Affairs at 505-746-6400.