Cooling Assistance Program available now to eligible applicants

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UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — The recent heatwave has kept most of us inside enjoying the A.C. but what if you and your family couldn’t afford an A.C. unit?

New York State offers a Cooling Assistance Program that is a part of the Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP. 

“It’s to purchase either an air conditioner or a fan depending on the type of living setting that you’re in,” Timothy Seymour, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services for Herkimer County, explained. “And I believe the benefit is up to $800.”

The $800 goes towards the unit and installation costs, households can only receive one A.C. or fan. You may apply for the heap cooling benefit if your household has a member with a documented medical condition worsened by heat, a gross monthly income that meets current HEAP guidelines, received a regular HEAP benefit greater than $21 in the current program year, or resides in government-subsidized housing with heat included in your rent, or did not receive a HEAP funded air conditioner within the past 5 years.

“The key component with this thing is that you have to have documentation of a medical condition that is worsened by the heat,” Seymour explained.

It’s only the beginning of July and already Seymour and his team have had an influx of applicants applying for the program, compared to 2020.

“In 2020 we processed 96 cooling applications and now we’re only in June and these numbers are up to partial through the month of June we’ve already done 46,” Seymour said. “So my guess is if you call me two months from now we’re going to have a higher number.”

Seymour says the easiest way to see if you apply for the program is to visit the OTDA website, but members of his staff are happy to help you through the process in person or over the phone as well at (315) 867-1220.

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