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NEW YORKERS RECEIVE MORE HELP HEATING THEIR HOMES

4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.

The Home Energy Assistance Program Continues for the Season with Increased Benefits and Eligibility throughout the City.

It's not too late to apply for HEAP. During this very cold winter, New Yorkers have the ability to stay warm in their homes with help from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). HEAP provides low-income renters and homeowners help with heating costs and heating emergencies. The program also provides means-tested grants to help pay heating fuel bills and can also provide emergency assistance in circumstances such as gas and utilities shut offs and boiler break-downs.

The HEAP season opened this past November and more than 19,000 applications have been approved so far. This is an increase of over 1,000 applications from last year at this point in the season. Since November, over $7.5 million have been allocated to New Yorkers. Last season, the New York City Human Resources Administration issued 487,165 regular heating and emergency grants totaling $34,771,478.

"In the face of this economic downturn, I am pleased that HRA can offer expanded support to working families who encounter a heating emergency," HRA Commissioner Robert Doar said. "The winter cold is not over, and the increased eligibility is a windfall for senior New Yorkers as well."

The increase in applications and grants is partly due to several changes to HEAP including increases to the level of benefits for those who pay for heating their homes. The emergency benefit has also increased from $700 to $800. For those households that qualify for HEAP but are using other sources for heating the maximum benefit increased from $540 to $585.

Income eligibility levels have also been increased to reflect the rise in New York State median income level. To be eligible for a regular HEAP benefit the gross monthly income must be below or at $3,766. For the emergency HEAP grant, a family of four's gross monthly income must be below or at $4,720.

For more information about HEAP--including locations of application centers throughout the five boroughs--call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/hra.