New York state announced today that the Federal Government has released more funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which according to a press release will enable the state to keep funding HEAP for non-low-income New Yorkers into February.
So that’s good news. FYI, here’s my recent blog post about county agencies in our area being inundated with requests for HEAP assistance; and as Zach Hirsch reported last week, the high cost of propane (which many in rural areas use for heating) is really hitting many North Country households very hard.
Here’s the press release with more info. More information about HEAP here.
Albany, NY (February 2, 2014)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Federal Government has released additional Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding, increasing New York’s total for the 2013-14 heating season to more than $366 million. The additional funding will enable New York to continue operating the regular benefit component of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) into February.
“The recent extreme cold weather has taken a toll on households statewide struggling to afford their heating bill to keep their families warm,” Governor Cuomo said. “This additional funding will be essential in helping eligible New Yorkers this season, and I urge those in need of assistance to apply as soon as possible.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released $454 million in LIHEAP funding to states, providing an additional $50.6 million for New York. That brings New York’s total for the 2013-14 HEAP season to $366.8 million.
HEAP is a federally-funded program administered through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
“We are grateful that our partners at the federal level recognize the challenges many states are facing due to extreme winter conditions,” said OTDA Commissioner Kristin M. Proud. “We know there are still many households in need of assistance, and the funding released yesterday will help address that need.”
Eligible households in New York may receive one regular HEAP benefit per season and could also be eligible for an emergency benefit if they are in impending danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off. More than 1.3 million households have already received HEAP assistance this winter.
Anyone living outside of New York City who is seeking a regular HEAP benefit can submit an application online at http://myBenefits.ny.gov. Those who need emergency assistance, or live in New York City, should contact their local department of social services. New York City residents can also go to http://www.nyc.gov/accessnyc to find out how to apply for benefits. New Yorkers can find contact information for their local social services department at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/HEAP-contacts.pdf.
For more information about HEAP, visit http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, “With the wolf of winter-cold snapping at the door, this urgently needed home heating aid arrived not a moment too soon for countless New York seniors and struggling families. This massive release of $50.6 million in federal funding to New York will provide critical relief to residents and senior citizens who were being forced to choose between heating their homes or putting food on the table. With record-breaking freezes occurring in New York and across the country, I’m thrilled that the feds have released this funding to New York for immediate use this winter.”
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “No New York family should ever be left in the cold. But with bitter cold temperatures and rising energy costs, families and seniors who are struggling in this tough economy can’t afford to heat their homes. This funding is a lifeline for New Yorkers who rely on it so they can stay warm this winter.”
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said, “This additional federal aid helps make it less likely that New Yorkers will be forced to choose between paying their heating bill or buying groceries. With our economy still recovering and so many of our neighbors facing steep heating costs this cold winter, this federal investment is welcome news for the thousands of New Yorkers – many of whom are elderly, disabled, or caring for a child – who rely on this assistance. This is why I fought to ensure that the recently passed omnibus appropriations bill included an additional $454 million in LIHEAP funding, and I am pleased that New York State now has access to these critical funds.”
Congressman Eliot Engel, Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “This has been a usually harsh winter that has left many families unable to keep up with their energy bills. It would be unconscionable to allow them to struggle when we have the resources to relieve the financial strain. The Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an essential program for financially strapped families and the release of these funds will ensure the program remains open as this harsh winter continues.”
Congressman Peter King said, “For many New Yorkers still recovering from the impact of Superstorm Sandy, LIHEAP funding is a critical lifeline. Very simply, it’s a matter of safety and health.”
Congressman Paul Tonko said, “I am pleased HHS released this critical funding for New Yorkers to help offset what can be staggering costs of heating a home. This support will help ease the burden on hard-working families and seniors that have important expenses like rent, gas, groceries, and health care to prioritize. I join Governor Cuomo in urging those in need to apply for this funding, and I thank him for his work to maximize the benefit of this program. In Washington, I will continue to fight for LIHEAP funding in the budget to help those in need.”