Guest Column: Cooling application process not fair

By Anna Lance

This letter is in regard to the summer cooling program sign-up. It was quite a scene, to say the least. Subjecting the elderly and handicapped to such treatment.

The way the 980 people were chosen stunk, yes, I said stunk! If you didn’t own a car to get in line at the crack of dawn, you were out with no chance of getting an envelope for entry.

I personally witnessed people butting ahead in line, and when it was brought to the workers’ attention, they told us to call the police. They said, “We are not here for that purpose.” Then why are they there? The elderly and handicapped should not be subjected to this kind of chaos. Isn’t this a federally-funded program being run out of 555 N. Court St.? There has to be a better way to choose who receives the assistance. It looks to me like the same people that own cars keep getting the help over and over. Is this fair? Will the coolant applicants also be in line to receive the winter LIHEAP on their electric bills? Nine hundred eighty people who were lucky enough to get in that line received the help. It seems to me, there must be a better solution to help give everyone a fair chance.

Yes, even with our handicaps, we are people, too, and deserve better. We are voters and taxpayers, too. I can’t help but feel that they wanted people due to the heat and their physical ailments to give up and just leave — weeding out the weak.

I personally witnessed two-income families getting in because they owned a car and could get in line early. Across the street and one block over, there are two high-rise buildings. One has 187 apartments, and the other 151. Do you see how people that needed to travel really didn’t have a chance? I had to be transported. I could go on and on with the unfairness. Would you really want your loved one in this line? I don’t think so. Can someone in this city come up with a better solution to this problem? Why not let everyone put their name in and draw out the 980 to make this program more fair? I was there. I saw the faces of people being turned away hurting and hot. This is inhumane to me! Maybe 555 N. Court St. can no longer handle this program properly; maybe it needs to be turned over to another agency.

Come on, get together and make a change; it’s well overdue.

Anna Lance is a resident of Rockford.

From the Oct. 3-9, 2012, issue

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