Individuals Who Suffer from Heat-Related Illnesses Can Apply to Receive Air Conditioners
Funding Increased from Last Year to Meet Higher Demand
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $6 million is available to help New Yorkers suffering from serious health issues that are aggravated by extreme heat purchase an air conditioner. Individuals can apply in person for cooling assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program at their county department of social services beginning Wednesday, May 1.
“The summer months can bring extreme heat, which puts our most vulnerable New Yorkers at risk,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage anyone with a medical condition that is worsened by high temperatures to apply now, so they can stay safe and comfortable in their homes.”
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which oversees the program, has set aside $6 million in federal funding to provide an air conditioning unit or fan to eligible households. Last summer, $5.5 million was allocated and a total of nearly 8,000 households received cooling assistance, compared to $3 million and 4,000 households in 2017.
To qualify, applicants must meet existing HEAP eligibility criteria and income guidelines, which vary by household size, and have at least one member of the household that suffers from a documented medical condition exacerbated by extreme heat. For example, a household of four can earn up to $55,178 a year, or $4,598 a month, and still qualify for assistance.
Cooling assistance will be provided on a first-come, first served basis. County departments of social services will accept applications through August 30, or until funding runs out.
“With the brutally hot New York summer right around the corner, this $6 million investment will help the state’s most vulnerable cover the high energy costs that are becoming a larger and larger portion of their budget,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “I was proud to fight for this critical pot of funds in the Senate, and will always work to ensure that New Yorkers don’t have to make the decision of whether to pay their energy bills or put food on the dinner table.”
Representative Paul Tonko (NY-20) said, “A person’s home is a sanctuary and should not pose a risk to their health come summertime. For New Yorkers with serious health concerns, including many of our seniors, the summer heat can be dangerous and even deadly. I thank Governor Cuomo for championing this support program that can help New Yorkers afford the cooling assistance they need to stay safe and healthy.”
Representative Yvette Clarke (NY-9) said, “Many older New Yorkers and households with limited means dread the summer season because of health risks associated with high heat. This program can provide them with some relief, so they can stay cool in their homes even if they require assistance paying for an air conditioning unit.”
Representative Nita Lowey (NY-17) said, “As we enter the warmer months of the year, it is crucial that we care for New Yorkers whose medical conditions are worsened by the heat. No one should ever have to go without lifesaving cooling assistance because they cannot afford it. That is why, as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations committee, I am proud that the recently released the Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would provide $3.8 billion for this lifesaving program, an increase of $150 million from current funding.”
Representative Eliot Engel (NY-16) said, “Many New Yorkers suffer from extreme temperatures in the summer that aggravate their medical conditions, putting their lives at risk. As a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, I am grateful that the Empire State is continuing to take the lead this year to help New York families stay safe and comfortable – even in the hottest of summer heat. I thank Governor Cuomo for securing this funding and for helping all New Yorkers prepare to endure the elements this summer season.”
Representative Gregory W. Meeks (NY-5) said, “The summer months can pose serious health risks to seniors and people with medical conditions that are sensitive to high temperatures. By making these funds available, New York is helping ensure that no one is exposed to extreme heat simply because they can’t afford an air conditioner and cooling. I applaud the Governor for continuing this successful program.”
“Summer in New York often brings extreme heat, and homes without proper cooling can put residents, and particularly seniors, youth and individuals with medical conditions, at risk of heat-related illnesses,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “This vital program will allow at-risk individuals to escape the heat by providing much-need air conditioning. I commend Governor Cuomo for putting more funding towards this great initiative to help keep residents cool and safe this summer.”