July has brought us the most intense heat we’ve had all summer, and it’s important to our well-being to stay cool through it. Unfortunately, low-income households without funds for air conditioning are amongst those who suffer the worst.
That’s part of the reason why New York City launched the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The program provides federal funding to assist homeowners and tenants with utility bills. It includes electric, gas, and heating.
This kind of assistance not only makes it possible for New Yorkers to have free air conditioners installed in their homes during the summer months, but it also offers monetary benefits for utilities, with the amount dependent on the household’s living situation.
“Heat can be dangerous, especially for New Yorkers with certain health conditions,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi in a press release. “I urge all New Yorkers to stay inside air-conditioned spaces as much as possible.”
To be eligible for cooling assistance, you must: have received a HEAP benefit this year, be receiving Temporary Assistance (TA) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance, or be or have a household member with a heat-sensitive medical condition. These terms, minus the last one listed, also apply to eligibility for general HEAP assistance.
The deadline to apply for HEAP is August 31st, 2021. If you are seeking air conditioning, act fast since cooling assistance only runs until the end of August. You can also store this information somewhere for next summer.
Find more information about the program here at: otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/, or find answers to your questions either by calling the Heat Line at 212-331-3126 or 311.
A map of outdoor cooling options like drinking fountains and misting stations can be found on the Cool It! NYC page of the NYC Parks website. Also, NYC Pools are open until September 12th, 2021, and some have extended hours during heat advisories. For more tips on staying cool, visit NYC.gov/beattheheat.