Governor Hochul Announces Expanded Eligibility For $15 Million In Cooling Assistance
All Income-Eligible New Yorkers Could Qualify for an Air Conditioner
Applications Begin May 2
Program Expected to serve an Estimated 20,000 Low-Income Households
Visit this link to see if you qualify
Governor Hochul today announced that $15 million is available through the Home Energy Assistance Program to help low-income individuals and families who lack air conditioning to stay cool during the upcoming summer months. Under the direction of the Governor, the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance – the agency administering HEAP – expanded eligibility for the cooling component to more effectively assist those in need by including all income-eligible New Yorkers.
“For too many New Yorkers, relief from the stifling heat that summer brings each year is prohibitively expensive,” Governor Hochul said. “By expanding the eligibility guidelines for cooling assistance, we can help ensure that more low-income and disadvantaged households have the means to stay comfortable and safe when temperatures inevitably rise.”
To qualify for cooling assistance under the amended guidelines, applicants must meet HEAP eligibility criteria and income thresholds, which vary by household size. For instance, a family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,249 or an annual gross income of $62,983. Prior to this year, the cooling component of HEAP was only available to income-eligible households with an individual suffering from a documented medical condition exacerbated by extreme heat.
The program covers the cost of an air conditioning unit and installation. Under the expanded eligibility, the cooling component is expected to serve up to 20,000 households throughout the state.
Applications for cooling assistance will be accepted at local departments of social services starting Monday, May 2 and extending through August 31, or until funding runs out. Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. New York City residents may download an application and obtain program information at access.nyc.gov.
The cooling assistance program provided about 11,300 benefits throughout the state last year alone. More than 36,000 households throughout New York have benefited from cooling assistance over the past five years.
In addition to cooling assistance, the agency also continues to offer the emergency HEAP benefit to those households experiencing a crisis or life-threatening heat or heat-related energy emergency. The emergency benefit is available through Aug. 31 or until the funds allocated are exhausted.
Statewide demand for HEAP remains high. So far this season, nearly 1.5 million regular benefits were received by low to moderate-income households, and nearly 63,000 emergency benefits were also issued to these households.