Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that under an agreement reached between the Assembly and Senate and contingent upon the governor’s signature (A.9562-A & A.9564), New York will now contribute an additional $100 million to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to help offset high energy costs that have directly affected Broome County families and seniors. This money will be distributed to counties throughout New York State to increase the availability and amount of HEAP grants.
Federal funding to New York for the HEAP program – which helps low-income seniors and working families pay for heating costs – has already been reduced by $15 million. HEAP is currently funded solely by federal funds. In Broome County, over 3,000 families have already received funding this year to heat their homes and nearly half the aid available has been allocated with even more applications anticipated.
“The timing of this agreement is critical,” Lupardo said. “An additional $1.8 million in funding for Broome County will provide much needed assistance for families who have sacrificed basic needs in order to heat their homes.”
While the bipartisan agreement falls short of legislation recently passed in the Assembly (A.9281) that would have provided $3.7 million to Broome County in HEAP aid, the governor’s proposal to add $50 million to the program would have meant just $948,869 in additional funding for the county.
“People struggling to pay their heating bills often turn to less expensive, unsafe options which are more likely to cause house fires and other tragedies,” Lupardo said. “This funding will help families better afford safe heat sources.”
To receive an application or to find out if you are eligible for HEAP benefits, contact the Broome County Department of Social Services at 778-2638 or call the HEAP hotline at 1-800-342-3009.