During the winter months, low income New York City families have a few resources available to them that can help them pay heating bills or allow them to conserve energy. The primary resources are HEAT LINE, weatherization, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), HeartShare, and the Utility Assistance Program (UAP). Each program offers a different form of assistance to qualified NYC households.
The HEAP/Home Energy Assistance Program is a supplemental program that is paid for by the federal government. It uses a grant that can help pay a portion of the energy and heating bills of qualified New York City residents. There are two different versions of this resource.
The regular component is for your ongoing, monthly bills. It will often be provided to you in the form of a credit on your account. Funds from HEAP can pay natural gas, electricity, propane, wood, heating oil, kerosene, coal, or other fuel source. Call 1-800-342-3009 to apply or get more information.
There is also an emergency or crisis part of HEAP, which can help a family in New York City who is facing a crisis. This can be available if your service is about to be disconnected, or you are out of fuel, and in these instances financial aid is offered only as a last resort. Call your nearby NYC department of social services office to apply for this. Also inquire about the free weatherization program when you call, as this can help you save money by conserving energy.
Another part of this service is a heating equipment replacement or repair benefit. This will help keep an apartment or home warm. So if your furnace or equipment is not working or needs to be replaced, some grants may be offered for that expense as well. The goal is to help low-income homeowners (or even renters) repair or replace the residence’s primary heating equipment and/or keep the current system functional.
The Utility Assistance Program is for households and families who have a member who is mentally impaired, blind, disabled, or elderly. Individuals that apply for this benefit also need to be residing in a home that is neglected or in a hazardous environment. If you need help paying your heating bills, and you meet these conditions, the UAP program and your Local Department of Social Services office may be able to assist. Call 1-718-557-1399.
HeartShare is an energy assistance program offered by many of the utility companies who operate in New York City and the boroughs. Customers requesting help must contact their provider. This cooling and heating bill assistance program was created by Con Edison, National Grid, and Entergy, among others. If you are on the verge of disconnection, and meet other qualifications, this resource may offer a couple hundred dollars for paying your bills, and HeartShare is offered in Westchester and the New York City region. Call (718) 848-0300 for details. The program relies heavily on donations from the community, so if you can contribute please do so.
There are other components as well. HeartShare can also provide for some equipment, such as a Free Air Conditioner during the summer or heating equipment during November through April. It also administers National Grid's Neighborhood Heating Fund, which is another grant program for paying bills.
The New York City Heat Line program arranges home visits from social workers or others who will review your energy situation. Dial (212) 331-3150. All of the advice provided by the worker is done so at no cost to the household. If you call the service, you can arrange for and schedule a home visit to explore your options, including reviewing the state of New York, federal government, and local non-profit assistance programs.
EnergyShare is a crisis fund for the most vulnerable in New York City, such as families with young children, unemployed, seniors, and the disabled who are facing a crisis. It is a Con Edison supported grant program that can help people keep warm during the winter, and also keep the electricity on. It can also be combined with other financial aid referenced above, such as the federal government Home Energy Assistance Program as well as money or funding from non-profits.
Con Edison, using programs such as HeartShare or the EnergyShare mentioned above, has helped thousands of low income families who are struggling. It is available in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and State Island as well as Westchester County. Individuals can only apply for this heating bill assistance program at most once every 5 years, and they need to have shown a past history of paying their account on time. Call (877) 480-7427 for additional information.
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