Home Energy Assistance Program Returns for the Summer Months

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday, April 28 a program to help low-income residents obtain free air conditioners.

Preparing for a hot summer ahead, the state is setting aside $3 million for the program, which will offer units on a first come, first served basis. Households must meet income eligibility criterion. They must also present a physician’s note indicating that a household member suffers from a heat-aggravating medical condition.

Much like the state’s HEAP program for winter-related heat assistance, the energy-efficient air conditioning units will help people tolerate times of extreme heat. Cuomo stated

As another hot summer draws closer, the State is helping New Yorkers in need remain safe and cool in their homes. The Home Energy Assistance Program is a critical resource for low-income New Yorkers with medical needs to get air conditioning and maintain a healthy living environment. I encourage any eligible families in need to apply today.

The funding for this program does not cover the cost of utility bills, so residents need to consider employing home energy reduction plans to keep their costs low. Additionally, the program caps air conditioning purchases at $800 per household. One air conditioning unit per household will be supplied, and if the unit cannot be safely installed, a fan will be provided.

Applications will be accepted from Thursday, May 1 until Friday, August 29. The program is scheduled to end once funds are depleted, which doesn’t sit well with Bill Ferris, a New York AARP lobbyist.

We think it’s a wise investment for the governor and certainly will help people stay healthy in the summer. But we do believe there should be a reassessment after the resources are gone to see if the need still exists. It’s cost effective for the state to do that, because you don’t want people accessing the healthcare system because they didn’t have the proper air conditioning in their house.

Installation of the units will be arranged by one’s local Department of Social Services. General maintenance, including cleaning and covering, is the responsibility of the resident.

For more information on the program, visit HEAP or New York’s myBenefits site.

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