Need heat? County ready to assist
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Sullivan County’s HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) effort starts this coming Monday.
And unlike last year’s understaffed fiasco, county officials promise they’re ready to meet this winter’s demand.
Electronic databases have replaced handwritten notes. Twelve incoming phone lines have replaced one. And a dozen people are getting ready to help keep the county’s citizens safe and warm. They’ll even be coming to a community near you in the next few weeks.
Starting November 3, the program runs through April, though this past year it was extended into May.
Whether you heat your home or apartment with electricity, gas, oil, coal, propane, wood or kerosene, HEAP can help pay the fuel bill, up to $800.
Got a furnace or boiler that’s failed? HEAP will pay up to $6,000 to replace it.
If you’re out or just about out of fuel and can’t afford to buy more, HEAP can cover you above and beyond the regular amounts (maximum of $800).
First off, you have to be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
Secondly, if you receive food stamps, temporary assistance or Code A Supplemental Security Income, you’re eligible regardless of income.
If you do not receive such benefits, then your monthly income has to be below $1,963 if you’re living alone, $2,567 if there are two in the home, $3,172 if there are three, and so forth.
If you are not primarily responsible to heat your living space (i.e., you rent and do not directly pay the fuel bill), you likely won’t get more than $50 though if you get your landlord to participate, that amount could go up significantly.
If you are responsible for your heating bills (including as a renter), you may be eligible for as much as $800 in benefits, depending upon the heating method.
How do people sign up?
More than 600 applications have been mailed to potentially eligible recipients as identified by the county’s Health and Family Services Division.
For those new to the program, that application and an in-person interview are required. Proof of the ages and Social Security numbers of everyone in the household must be provided, along with total household income and expenses, and the desired fuel delivery vendor (including any account number you may have with them).
For those returning to the program, only the application must be filled out, and it can be mailed to the address listed on the application.
Used to be you had to travel to the Family Services complex in Liberty to get an application or complete an interview. Starting Monday, you can still do that, but thanks to increased state funding, the county is now bringing HEAP workers to you.
Here’s where they’ll be:
• November 5: Mamakating Town Hall, Wurtsboro, 3-6 p.m.
• November 6: Fremont Town Hall, Fremont Center, 3-4:30 p.m.
• November 7: Fallsburg Town Hall, South Fallsburg, 12-2 p.m.; and Neversink Town Hall, Grahamsville, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
• November 8: Lumberland Town Hall, Glen Spey, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
• November 10: Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s office, Monticello, 2:30-5 p.m.
• November 12: Cochecton Town Hall, Lake Huntington, 1-2:30 p.m.; and Tusten Town Hall, Narrowsburg, 3-5:30 p.m.
• November 13: Rockland Town Hall, Livingston Manor, 12:30-2:30 p.m.; and Highland Town Hall, Eldred, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
• November 14: Callicoon Town Hall, Jeffersonville, 1-3 p.m.; and Bethel Senior Center, Kauneonga Lake, 3:30-6 p.m.
• November 17: Delaware Town Hall, Hortonville, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; and Liberty Parks and Recreation Building, Liberty, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
• November 18: Thompson Town Hall, Monticello, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
• November 19: Forestburgh Town Hall, Forestburgh, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; and Woodridge Village Hall, Woodridge, 1-3 p.m.
Still have questions?
For more info on HEAP, log on to www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap or call the local HEAP hotline at 807-0142.
And remember: avoid heating emergencies by safely using heating devices and keeping the temperature to 68 degrees or less!