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Emergency energy assistance available

BUFFALO — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that the Erie County Department of Social Services’ 2013-2014 Home Energy Assistance Program emergency benefit component began on Jan. 2, 2014. Emergency benefits are available to assist eligible households in resolving heating, heat-related electric and energy-related temporary housing emergencies.

“HEAP is a federally-funded program to help eligible households in meeting their home energy needs,” said Poloncarz. “The emergency benefit component of this program is very important, because it prevents the heat from being shut off, on the homes of many low-income families and senior citizens on a fixed income. I encourage residents who qualify for this program to apply, as soon as possible.”

Emergency benefit amounts are as follows:

Heating emergency benefits: oil, kerosene and propane for $600; wood, wood pellets, corn, coal or other for $500; natural gas heat only for $400; natural gas heat with domestic electric for $560; electric heat for $560; heat-related electric for $160; temporary relocation for up to $500 per program year; propane tank deposit for up to $500 per program year.

To be eligible for emergency HEAP assistance, the applicant must be the customer on the heating record, have a gross household monthly income at or below the maximum income guidelines, not have available liquid resources greater than $2,000 (or $3,000 if the household contains an individual aged 60 or older) and meet all other non-financial requirements.

If service is currently off, a member of the household or authorized representative must apply in person at the Erie County HEAP office, located at 478 Main St. in Buffalo.

Applicants, including temporary assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients approved for a 2013-14 regular benefit, who meet the customer of record requirements, are permitted to apply for emergency benefits by calling 858-7644.

Applications for emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted through March 17, 2014.

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