Assemblymember Kevin Cahill: Extra HEAP Funds Mean Warmer Winter for Low-Income New Yorkers

Governor announces release of funds after Assembly’s call for extra aid
February 9, 2004

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) said today that the release of extra Home Energy Assistance Program money should mean a warmer, safer winter for thousands of New Yorkers.

"Between the dramatic drop in temperatures and the rise in energy prices, this has been a particularly tough winter for low-income families," Mr. Cahill said. "I can guarantee you that this money will be put to immediate use by thousands of people who desperately need it."

The extra money comes in the wake of an Assembly resolution passed earlier this month urging the federal government to release more funds. Through the end of January, 640,000 households received assistance – an increase of 39,000 over the same period last year.

"For a long time now, the Assembly has been advocating for additional HEAP funds to meet the demand," noted Assemblymember Cahill. "I’m certain many struggling families will be relieved to get the help they need to get through this tough winter."

HEAP provides grants for heating bills ranging from $40 to $400 to eligible low-income seniors, those with disabilities and working families. New York’s program provides regular and emergency benefits to eligible renters and homeowners alike.

Eligibility is based on a household’s income, living arrangement, heating expenses, young, old or disabled family members and type of heat. For instance, a family of four that pays for its heat directly and has a gross monthly income of less than $3,325 could receive between $150 and $400. An elderly couple that doesn’t pay directly for heat and makes less than $2,261 could see between $40 and $50.

"High heating costs force too many people to make the horrible choice between heating their house and other basic necessities," Mr. Cahill concluded. "That’s a choice that just shouldn’t have to be made."

To receive an application or find out if you are eligible for HEAP benefits, contact your county Department of Social Services, or call the HEAP hotline at 1-800-342-3009. You can also visit www.otda.state.ny.us and download an application off the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Web site.