Air Conditioners Available For Low-Income Islanders With Medical Conditions
State program offering relief from heat
June 29, 2012
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-Brooklyn, Staten Island) is urging low-income Staten Islanders with serious medical conditions to take advantage of a state program offering air conditioners for eligible participants. The initiative is aimed at helping those who are at risk of serious health consequences due to prolonged heat waves afford the necessary protections even if they could not normally afford them. “With temperatures approaching 100 degrees, it is imperative that Staten Islanders take the necessary precautions to beat the heat, especially those with problematic health conditions,” said Malliotakis. “I urge all Staten Islanders who need access to air conditioners to take advantage of this program if eligible, and I encourage everyone to check on their sick and elderly neighbors to see if they need help applying or installing their unit.” The Richmond County cooling station is located in the Northfield Community LDC of Staten Island at 160 Herberton Avenue. They can be contacted at (718) 442-7351. In order to protect vulnerable New Yorkers, New York state has set aside $3 million in funding through the federally-funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Eligibility for the program is determined by: 1) LIHEAP low-income guidelines. (For a four-person household, the maximum gross annual income to qualify is approximately $49,500.) 2) Having at least one household member who has been diagnosed with a chronic or acute medical condition that is aggravated by exposure to extreme heat situations. 3) A doctor providing written documentation (dated within the last six months) that air-conditioning assistance is critical to prevent a heat emergency. Households that have a working air conditioner or have received one from the State in the last 10 years are not eligible. The cooling program is administered by HCR with funding provided from the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funds through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). HCR's network of 63 local weatherization agencies will provide delivery and installation of cooling program services, and funds have been allocated to ensure coverage in each of the state’s 62 counties. These agencies will accept applications, determine eligibility, and oversee the installation of the air conditioning units. Under the terms of the grant, one air conditioner will be awarded to an eligible household or dwelling unit with installation and labor included. Grants do not include an additional HEAP cash benefit to cover the cost of operating the air conditioning unit.