New York State has $373 million in federal funds available to provide home heating aid for low- and middle-income residents this winter, whether they be homeowners or renters.
Applications for assistance opened Friday for the Home Energy Assistance Program, known as HEAP, which is overseen by the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
â€śFor so many New Yorkers, the cost of heating during the cold weather season is a major expense that can really strain their household budget,â€ť Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement last week. â€śThe Home Energy Assistance Program is welcome relief for these individuals and families as winter beckons, ensuring they can heat their homes through the frigid months ahead.â€ť
More than 1.6 million New York State homeowners and renters received heating aid in 2020-21, according to the governorâ€™s office.
Eligible homeowners and renters may receive up to $751 in heating assistance, depending on their income, household size and how they heat their home. For example, a family of four with a gross income of $62,983 or less is eligible.
East End residents may visit the Suffolk County Department of Social Services at 893 East Main Street, Riverhead, or call 631-852-3500 to apply. Applications are accepted and funded on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who receive HEAP assistance this season and continue to fall behind on their utility bills or are running short on heating fuel may also qualify for a one-time emergency HEAP benefit. Applications for emergency benefits will be accepted starting January 3.
Social Services can also offer heating equipment and tune-up assistance through HEAP. Plus, the HEAP Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement program will help eligible households with the cost of repairing or replacing essential heating equipment. The benefit amount is up to $3,000 for a repair and $6,500 for a replacement.
â€śFor far too many New Yorkers, the impending cold weather months pose a significant financial burden due to the high cost of heating a home,â€ť Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara Guinn said. â€śThe Home Energy Assistance Program can alleviate some of that burden for homeowners and renters, allowing them to make ends meet as the mercury drops.â€ť
For any New Yorker struggling with bills dues to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has instituted a moratorium on utility shutoffs for nonpayment. Utility companies must instead offer a deferred payment agreement. The moratorium is scheduled to expire in late December, though the state is offering $150 million in federal funding for past-due heating bills.
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