$150 million in heating utility assistance has been announced by New York State.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the funding will help low-income households that have fallen behind on their utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the regular arrears supplement is available to households who are eligible for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and behind on their heating utility bills, but that do not qualify for the utility assistance offered by New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Federal funding will cover all accumulated heating utility arrears up to $10,000 and comes as the end of the moratorium on utility disconnections approaches in late December.
About 83,000 HEAP recipients had fallen behind on their utility bills as of March 2021, with these households owing an average arrears of about $1,370, or roughly $113 million statewide. While the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is providing utility arrears assistance for eligible renters, homeowners and those who do not owe rent arrears do not qualify for this assistance, including customers of municipally owned utilities.
The Chautauqua County Department of Social Services is accepting applications for assistance and can be reached at (716) 753-4385.