SAN ANTONIO -

The 2013 Warm Hearts, Warm Homes heater assistance program is underway.

Each year, they program provides at least 250 homes with a safe and reliable heating source. 

But this year, donations were down due to the economy and their efforts concentrated on helping seniors with the Affordable Care Act.

 They're still helping people, but more money is needed locally for the program to exist.

It's been a miserable winter so far for Ruth Houston. 

"I'm 82 years of age. I have osteoporosis and scoliosis, and I was extremely cold and I could not sleep," said Houston.

She said her heater stopped working recently and the only room that had any warmth was her bedroom.

But thanks to Alamo Service Connection, and their Warm Hearts, Warm Homes program, a heater was delivered right away.

And thanks to a little heater, Houston no longer has to be confined to her bedroom, nor does she have to get heat from her stove anymore.

ASC said they'd like to help more seniors, but this year, they've had fewer heater donations. 

The agency said during the donation drive that ran during October and November, they were busy helping seniors with the Affordable Care Act, so raising money for heaters fell through the cracks.

“I (also) think the economy had a little bit of an impact. We weren't able to raise enough funds to deliver around 250 heaters that we do every year," said George Losoya, lead specialist with Alamo Service Connection.

Losoya said people do dangerous things when they need heat.

"For those who don't have properly insulated homes, people have to depend on stoves and that’s a very dangerous way to heat your homes," said Losoya.

Even though this winter is rough, Houston makes no apologies for her situation.

"If I had the money, I would have bought me a heater, but I have taxes and things like that. Don't feel sorry for yourself, ask for help," said Houston.

The Warm Hearts, Warm Homes program not only helps people in Bexar County, but in several surrounding counties as well.

All of heaters are made possible thanks to generous donations. 

If you'd like to help, call Alamo Service Connection at 210-477-3275. 

Donations can also be sent to: Alamo Service Connection/AADC, 8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 700, San Antonio, TX 78217. 

Please make checks payable to AADC-ASC “Warm Hearts”. 

Donations are tax-deductible and acknowledgement letters will be provided. 

For more information, email behrig@aacog.com for details.

For a list of recent stories Mariza Mendoza has done, click here.