New York OTDA has announced that the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) will close for both Regular and Emergency HEAP assistance benefits on Friday, May 14, 2010. No new applications will be accepted after that date.
When the HEAP program is open, OTDA instructs local departments of social services to explore HEAP eligibility first, before considering applicants' eligibility for state/local funded programs, such as New York's emergency utility payment program under Section 131-s of the Social Services Law. This state-and-local program will become very important for growing numbers of low-income households facing service termination. See As Poverty Continues its Tight Grip on New York State, Utilities Increase Interruptions of Electric and Natural Gas Service to Collect Bills, PULP Network, April 1, 2010.
OTDA will issue a draft HEAP plan for 2010 - 2011 at some point outlining its intentions for the program in the next HEAP season beginning November 1, 2010. The state plan for using federal HEAP funds in 2010-2011 will eventually be submitted by the Governor to HHS for approval, after public involvement. A summary of public comments in the HEAP needs assessment phase of plan development are posted at the OTDA website. PULP filed comments and recommendations for improvement of the HEAP program in February, 2010. See PULP Expresses Concerns with State HEAP Program, Proposes Improvements, Transparency and Public Scrutiny of Utility Vendor Agreements, PULP Network, February 19, 2010.
The HEAP emergency heating equipment repair and replacement program not affected by the May 14 cessation of the Regular and Emergency grants and will continue through Thursday, September 30, 2010.