Buffalo – Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples announced that New York State is supplementing its Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) with $82.3 million in additional federal aid to help eligible households meet their home heating needs this winter. The funding comes in addition to the $178 million issued through the state so far this heating season.
“The exorbitant cost of keeping warm during the cold winter months has presented a real struggle for too many Buffalo families” Assemblymember Peoples stated. “Regular HEAP benefits and now this added emergency benefit will allow low-income households, as well as households with vulnerable members like children, seniors or people with disabilities, to keep their heat turned on throughout the cold weather, keeping thousands of New York families safe and warm this season.”
The additional funding released this month covers a second emergency benefit up to $700 per eligible household that will be made available to those who have already received HEAP funding this winter. The previous emergency benefit had a cap of only $600. So far this heating season, HEAP has issued benefits to more than 719,000 families statewide. This is the second time in HEAP history that a second level of emergency help has been made available; the program was added this year because of record-high energy costs.
“With such a dramatic drop in temperatures during this Buffalo winter, some extra assistance would be beneficial to residents whose heating costs have risen almost 100% more than last year,” stated Assemblymember Peoples. The heating crisis threatens to create life-altering situations, a question of whether to buy food or pay a heating bill can be a matter of life or death to some.”
HEAP applications are available on the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website at www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap or at the Buffalo HEAP office located at 478 Main Street. The requirements for HEAP are also at http://www.erie.gov/depts/socialservices/heap_generalinfo.asp. Applications are accepted through May 15.