In an emergency, Long Island families may receive funds for paying heating bills from Project Warmth. This is a crisis program that was created by the United Way and is administered in the area by several non-profit agencies. In addition to direct financial aid and grants being paid out, the agencies will also provide referrals and other forms of guidance to qualified households.
Many nonprofit, charities and corporate community partners work with the United Way of Long Island to process applications and administer the program. This is one of the few, non-government funded emergency heating bill funds. The program relies on donations from the community, as indicated below, so it is limited in scope and resources.
To those that qualify, Project Warmth will provide one-time grants to utility, natural gas, and oil companies across Long Island. Those companies will then provide the assistance, including credits, to qualified households. All of this is offered on behalf of residents facing heating emergencies, such as a disconnection of their power.
Using a network of local non-profit partner agencies, struggling and working poor Long Island families can apply to Project Warmth for help. In addition, they will receive free information on other local resources to help them address greater financial stability over the mid to long term.
Those that qualify will receive a one-time grant for paying their energy costs. They will also be provided with an additional amount for heating expenses and fuel-related electricity. The grant from the United Way may be used to pay for any fuel source such as gas, heating oil, electric, propane, etc. All money from Project Warmth is paid out on a first come and served basis and are available until funds are exhausted.
Applicants need to be a full time resident of Nassau or Suffolk County New York or even the Rockaways. They will also need to prove that they have a financial hardship and provide an acceptable explanation for the arrears and why they are in a crisis. Funds are paid out as a last resort, so families need to apply for energy assistance from HEAP before applying for Project Warmth. Another focus is on Long Island residents that are 60 years old or older, disabled, or those that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
While the funding levels do change from year to year, thousands of families will generally receive help every year. With the weak economy, many people have lost their jobs or had a reduction in work hours. Some of these do not qualify for government assistance, such as LIHEAP. This is because that they are not technically poor, but they are still struggling to make ends meet. That is a good example of the type of person that may be assisted by Project Warmth.
Another challenge is that the federal government and state of New York have significantly reduced funding for resources such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Many charities are receiving less money for donations. So this means the number of options available for low income families to get utility bill assistance is more limited. So Project Warmth may fill this gap.
As indicated, donations are always needed. The United Way of Long Island needs help from the community. Your contribution will enhance the organizations ability to provide critical safety-net services to the less fortunate across the region. Your generous donation, no matter how little, can help Project Warmth stay open all winter and assist thousands of underserved Long Islanders.
To learn more on Project Warmth or to apply, dial 1-888-774-7633.
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