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Digital Campaign Launches for Heating and Utility Assistance

November 19, 2021

Governor Kathy Hochul today launched a new digital media campaign designed to raise awareness of the various state programs available to help struggling New Yorkers pay heating and utility expenses to avoid potential service interruptions during the cold weather months ahead. With utility prices expected to spike this season, the campaign will also provide tips and best practices to help contend with higher-than-average home heating costs.

"Rising heating and utility costs in the winter months can be enough to break the bank for many New Yorkers already struggling to make ends meet," Governor Hochul said. "This new campaign will highlight the multitude of programs and resources available to those in need—from direct financial assistance to free weatherization workshops offered to low-income homeowners and renters. Connecting people to these programs is critical to ensuring that people can heat their homes in the freezing months ahead."

Heating and Utility Assistance Eligible homeowners and renters may apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which can provide up to $751 depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,249 or an annual gross income of $62,983 and still qualify for benefits —a modest increase from the previous year's threshold.

Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, applications for HEAP are accepted in-person at local departments of social services or by telephone, with funding provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents outside of New York City may also apply online for regular heating assistance benefits.

New York State is also providing $150 million in federal funding to help low-income households pay heating utility arrears. This Regular Arrears Supplement is available to households who are eligible for HEAP and behind on their heating utility bills, but that do not qualify for the utility assistance offered by New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The one-time payments through the regular arrears supplement can cover all accumulated heating utility arrears up to $10,000 per household, with applications for assistance accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone.

So far, roughly 523,000 households have received $158.6 million in regular HEAP benefits during the 2021-22 heating season. Likewise, more than $79 million has been paid on behalf of 50,000 households for the Regular Arrears Supplement, which opened for applications in late September.

OTDA is also accepting applications for its heating equipment repair or replacement benefit. Eligible homeowners can now apply for up to $3,000 for repair or $6,500 for replacement of a furnace, boiler or other direct heating equipment necessary to keep the household's primary heating source working. Additionally, eligible households can receive energy efficiency services, which includes the cleaning of primary heating equipment to allow for its safe and efficient operation.

Starting Jan. 3, HEAP will also provide a one-time emergency benefit to eligible households that are facing a heating emergency.

State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said, "For far too many New Yorkers, the cost of home heating poses a significant burden on their household budget, even before factoring in the anticipated increase in these expenses this winter. These programs are aimed at alleviating some of that burden and helping low-income households throughout our state make ends meet during the cold weather months."

Electric and natural gas bills are expected to be higher for the 2021-2022 winter season than last year, with natural gas projected to increase by an average of about 21 percent statewide, according to the New York Public Service Commission.

To read more about this story, you can visit Governor Hochul Launches Statewide Campaign Highlighting Heating and Utility Assistance for Struggling New Yorkers.

New York Pressroom

November 18, 2021

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