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Poloncarz, Erie County DSS announce opening of HEAP cooling assistance program

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Tue, May 3rd 2016 02:50 pm

Households that meet eligibility requirements will receive installation of window air conditioner

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and the Erie County Department of Social Services have announced the opening of the Home Energy Assistance Program cooling assistance program. Under the federally funded cooling program, eligible households (those meeting HEAP requirements and with at least one member having a documented medical condition) will receive installation of one window air conditioner.

"It shouldn't be much longer until the warmer weather arrives and, with that in mind, I strongly encourage all eligible residents who might need air conditioning to act as soon as possible to get involved in the HEAP cooling assistance program," Poloncarz said. "The funding for the program is limited and the assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, so the time to act is now."

All residents who meet eligibility requirements may apply at the HEAP office (291 Pearl St., Buffalo) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Applications may also be mailed. Residents are encouraged to call the HEAP application request line at 716-858-1969 for an application package.

Approved households will be provided with a list of qualified area contractors who are contracted with New York to install air conditioning units. HEAP will notify the chosen vendor of program eligibility, and the vendor will coordinate the setup appointment with residents.

Households that have received HEAP cooling assistance within the past 10 years, or households with a working air conditioning unit that is less than five years old, are not eligible.

All HEAP components are federally funded. Eligible households must have received a 2015-16 HEAP benefit or have income which does not exceed the 2015-16 maximum HEAP guidelines. In addition, in order to be eligible, at least one member of the household must have a medical condition (documented in writing by a physician, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner) that is exacerbated by extreme heat. Documentation for this medical condition must be issued within the previous 12 months and clearly state the health condition. Documentation older than 12 months may be used if it provides sufficient information to indicate the medical condition is considered chronic.

The HEAP hotline is also available to provide information about other programs available to assist with heat and electricity costs or furnace repair when HEAP benefits are closed for the season; information on the weatherization assistance program, and referrals to EmPower NY; answer questions about HEAP benefits approved during the season; and provide information about the 2016-17 HEAP season.

For more information about HEAP, call the HEAP hotline at 716-858-7644.

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