Couple left in the cold with no furnace

A Cortland County couple has been left between a rock and hard place, forced to live in their own home without heat during this week's sub-zero cold.

Glen and Elizabeth Lee live in the Town of Scott and three years ago they received a new furnace through the Home Energy Assistance Program. Since then, the furnace has needed constant repairs and on the day after Christmas, a technician told them any further repairs would be fruitless. Their furnace was dead.

Since December 26th, they've been forced into using a few small space heaters to try and keep from freezing. The thermostat in their living room read 41 degrees on Thursday night and in their kitchen, where a space heater is running, a temperature of 56 degrees.

The Lees say they have been told by the Home Energy Assistance Program that the agency can't buy the Lees another furnace for seven years because of the rules on the books. The Lees say they can't afford a new furnace on their own because they live on a fixed income and since late December it has been a constant struggle to stay warm..

They've sought shelter with some relatives during this week's sub-zero cold, but otherwise they've been on their own.

Action News contacted the Home Energy Assistance Program in Cortland County Thursday, but they refused to to talk to us, claiming that they can't comment publicly about any of their clients.

Elizabeth Lee says some people have told her to move out of her house and into a nursing home with her husband. She says comments like that upset her. Lee told us, "I don't think I'm asking for too much. Just to have my home and my animals. I don't want to be a millionaire and have fancy cars, furs and jewelry. I just want to be able to stay in my home until I die."

Editor's note: Since this story was first published there has been an outpouring of support for the Lee family. Action News has learned that arrangements are being made to help the Lees with their furnace. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.