Bob Vautour has power reconnected, working to save home
Big Hearts Small City providing emergency assistance after friend's request
A Moncton man, who was facing the possibility of living on the streets after his wife died and he was laid off from his job, is trying to save his home from foreclosure with funds donated to help him.
A tweet to CBC from Big Hearts Small Cities said Bob Vautour, 59, had his power reconnected Monday morning and he was at the bank to work on saving his home.
NB Power advised the power had been reconnected by 10 a.m.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNB">@CBCNB</a> Bob Vautour has power back on this morning. He is at his bank to work out saving his home with donated funds <a href="https://t.co/We0l7VRZ0c">https://t.co/We0l7VRZ0c</a>—@bigheartscity
A GoFund Me account set up to help Vautour raised $7,780 in 12 days.
"He has given back to Moncton for many years. Now Moncton needs to give back to him," said Jill Murray, a friend of Vautour's in a statement released by Big Hearts Small City.
Vautour, who has spent more than four decades volunteering his time as a football coach, had been living with no power since November due to unpaid bills and was using a generator to keep the pipes from freezing. He was travelling to the YMCA to shower.
Danger of losing home
He said he was unable to make his mortgage payments and in danger of losing his house.
"It's just snowballed to the point that the auction date is March 15," said Vautour.
I'm not the type of person to seek out help, but it's coming around and I'm running out of time and I'm trying to save my life as it exists.- Bob Vautour
"I've got to come up with $5,300 to get it off the auction block or I'm going to lose it."
Jason Surette, the founder of Big Hearts Small City, which helps people in emergency situations, says Vautour is not alone in his situation.
"It's becoming prevalent that a lot of elderly people become in poverty situations, especially after being cut off from power for months on end," said Surette.
Vautour has been receiving help from Surette's group since last week after one of his friends contacted them about his situation.
Vautour says he is grateful for the support.
"I'm not the type of person to seek out help, but it's coming around and I'm running out of time and I'm trying to save my life as it exists."
The Moncton man is on social assistance. According to Big Hearts Small City, the Department of Social Development offered to pay $550 as an emergency fuel benefit toward his unpaid NB Power bill.
NB Power does have a policy to try and avoid service disconnection during the winter months, from November to April.
"Our goal is to avoid the need to disconnect service to our customers, especially during the winter months. From November 1 to the end of April, we consider the impact of colder weather on heating and the impact this can have on bills. It is very important for customers who are struggling at this time of the year to maintain contact with us in order to avoid disruption in service," said Deborah Nobes, a spokesperson with NB Power.