Individuals Who Suffer from Heat-Related Illnesses Can Apply to Receive Air Conditioners
Funding Increased from Last Year to Meet Higher Demand
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $6 million is available to help New Yorkers suffering from serious health issues that are aggravated by extreme heat purchase an air conditioner. Individuals can apply in person for cooling assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program at their county department of social services beginning Wednesday, May 1.
“The summer months can bring extreme heat, which puts our most vulnerable New Yorkers at risk,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage anyone with a medical condition that is worsened by high temperatures to apply now, so they can stay safe and comfortable in their homes.”
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which oversees the program, has set aside $6 million in federal funding to provide an air conditioning unit or fan to eligible households. Last summer, $5.5 million was allocated and a total of nearly 8,000 households received cooling assistance, compared to $3 million and 4,000 households in 2017.
To qualify, applicants must meet existing HEAP eligibility criteria and income guidelines, which vary by household size, and have at least one member of the household that suffers from a documented medical condition exacerbated by extreme heat. For example, a household of four can earn up to $55,178 a year, or $4,598 a month, and still qualify for assistance.
Cooling assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. County departments of social services will accept applications through August 30, or until funding runs out.
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Acting Commissioner Michael P. Hein said, “New York State sees extreme weather not only in the winter months, but in the summer as well. High temperatures can put some of our fellow New Yorkers, including older adults and children, in grave danger. I urge anyone who may be eligible for this potentially lifesaving benefit to apply as soon as possible.”
“With the brutally hot New York summer right around the corner, this $6 million investment will help the state’s most vulnerable cover the high energy costs that are becoming a larger and larger portion of their budget,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “I was proud to fight for this critical pot of funds in the Senate, and will always work to ensure that New Yorkers don’t have to make the decision of whether to pay their energy bills or put food on the dinner table.”