A program is offered year round by the American Red Cross of Monroe County and the greater Rochester New York region. However a focus, and much of the funding, is provided during the winter in order to help individuals pay their heating and natural gas bills.
People who are struggling, unemployed, and who are considered lower to moderate income can apply for emergency assistance from the so called Rochester Gas & Electric Heating Fund. The company, in partnership with non-profit agencies, offers a year-round financial assistance/grant program to prevent peoples heating service from being shut off.
The Red Cross provides this program in several central and western New York Counties. It is available to residents in Monroe County, as well as Allegany, Cayuga, Ontario, Wayne, Northern Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. Hundreds of families enroll in it per year.
As indicated, the emergency assistance is administered through the Rochester Gas & Electric Heating Fund. A key benefit of the program is it can help more moderate individuals and those who do not qualify for other government assistance, such as the federal government and state of New York Home Energy Assistance Program. Many people do not meet those government low income and working poor levels, but still struggle to pay increasing energy, food, and other costs. Those types of people are some of the main beneficiaries of American Red Cross aid.
Each and every year the organizations work together to process applications. Funds and grants are paid out as one-time payments in an effort to provide financial help for individuals or families that are having trouble paying their natural gas or heating bills. While the funding will change every year, in some cases Rochester Gas & Electric and American Red Cross will offer up to $600. The money paid out needs to be used to prevent disconnection, and it will usually last for up to 30 days.
In order to be qualified, a number of conditions need to be met. Some of them include that the household needs to have received a disconnect notice from their utility company. In addition, customers also need to be within certain income low to moderate income guidelines. While the scale can change and be reset, a single-person household in general cannot make more than $2,300 per month. A family of four can have an income as high as the mid $4600 per month amount. So the allowed income scale will change based on the number of people in your home.
While the program does operate year round, in general people from the greater Rochester New York region really apply during the colder New York winter months. This is when families are faced with energy bills that can approach hundreds of dollars per month, and many individuals struggle to keep up with various bills and debts. Many people need to decide between paying their heat, food, or medications, so this American Red Cross imitative can help during these difficult and stressful times.
Another option for residents of western New York who receive the grant is the Matching Incentive Payment Program. This is even more limited and will come with restrictions as well. In general, if the customer pays up to $400 on their Rochester Gas and Electric Bill, the American Red Cross will match that amount. So this allows people to get back to a current status in about half of the time they otherwise would be able to do that in.
In order to apply or to get more information, call RG&E or the American Red Cross at (585) 241-4474 for an application and to see if you qualify.
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