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Erie County announces opening of HEAP cooling assistance program

by jmaloni


Fri, May 1st 2015 01:30 pm

Eligible households will receive installation of window air conditioner

The Erie County Department of Social Services has announced the opening of the Home Energy Assistance Program ("HEAP") 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. Households that 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.

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, "Although we are just emerging from a long, cold winter, it will not be too long before summer weather is here. Extreme heat can take lives, and I encourage all eligible residents who might need air conditioning to act as soon as possible to take advantage of the HEAP cooling assistance program. Program funding is limited and assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, so the time to act is now."

Beginning May 1, residents who meet eligibility requirements may apply at the HEAP office at 291 Pearl St., Buffalo (between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays). Applications also may be mailed. Residents may 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 state to install air conditioning units. HEAP will notify the chosen vendor of program eligibility, and the vendor will coordinate the set-up appointment with residents.

All HEAP components are federally funded. Eligible households must have received a 2014-15 HEAP benefit or have income that does not exceed the 2014-15 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 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 2015-16 HEAP season. The HEAP hotline number is 716-858-7644.

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