Emergy Assistance Programs on Long Island
All Long Islanders who have difficulty paying their heating bills may seek assistance from various government and non-government initiatives which can help them get heating oil for free, help with heating system repairs or install a new one, have annual maintenance checks for free or winterize their home.
1. LIHEAP – Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program is a Federal program aimed to help people with financial difficulties get help paying their heating bills; funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and distributed through local governments, which determine which households can get oil incentives and the exact amount of it. LIHEAP has three assistance options:
- Regular Benefits: This is an oil incentive for households who have already been in a hard financial situation. Qualified customers get a budget worth $600 for getting any kind of heating fuel. Depending on the situation, there can also be add-ons to this amount.
- Emergency benefits. This program helps those hit by severe disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and large fires. Depending on the emergency type, the funds may be up to $600.
- Furnace Repair and Replacement. This incentive can cover furnace repairs or replacement costs fully or partially, depending on a household’s financial situation and the state of their heating system.
How to qualify: LIHEAP is available for all households with income levels below the limit, which is 150% of federal poverty level. Currently, this limit is set at $17,655 for a single homeowner plus $6,240 for each additional inhabitant.
How to apply: Applicants from Nassau County need to call (516) 565-4327 or (516) 227-8987 for senior citizens. Residents of Suffolk call (631) 853-8825.
There is also an online application form.
2. PROJECT WARMTH is a non-government initiative aimed to help those with financial difficulties who failed to qualify for LIHEAP, despite having a justifiable actual income level. Project Warmth is funded by L.I. United Way non-profit charity who collects funds from corporate and individual contributors. This initiative is more flexible than State funded programs, as it estimates need based on overall financial situation of a household, not just income as in most government-funded programs. Another advantage of this initiative is that it comes later during the season than other initiatives, and the funds are usually used up at a later date to help those who seek energy assistance by the season’s end when government funds for heating assistance are usually exhausted.
How to Qualify: Project Warmth criteria are similar to that for LIHEAP assistance, though there are more specific situations which may help you qualify. For more info and applications call (631) 940-3757.
3. Joe-4-Oil is an initiative helping residents who use oil for heating. Qualified households can have one-time delivery of 100 gallons of heating oil during a season free of charge. There are no strict criteria to qualify. Basically anyone passing through financial hardships during a heating season could apply for this non-government program. There are no citizenship or immigration status requirements, virtually all residents can apply. For applications call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL.
4. MIDDLE INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MIHEAP) is a program administered by the Suffolk County government and is available only to Suffolk County citizens. MIHEAP is similar to LIHEAP, and the only difference is a limit which is 35% greater than the federal LIHEAP qualifying level. All other terms are the same as for LIHEAP.
For more info and applications call (631) 854-2368
5. NYSERDA HEATING SYSTEM CLEAN AND TUNE PROGRAM. A State-run program which helps all LIHEAP qualified consumers have their heating systems properly maintained. This includes cleaning and tuning up, and if needed it can cover the cost of replacing minor parts, such as filters or repairs, where justifiable. To improve your chances of having a system breakage repair covered by this initiative, you need to prove that you’ve been maintaining your heating system properly. You will not only save on service appointments but a clean and properly tuned up system would also burn less fuel.
6. Residential Energy Affordable Partnerships (REAP) helps needy residents save on fuel expenses through increasing energy efficiency of their homes. For all qualified homes REAP will perform a detailed audit of their home energy efficiency, propose measures on how to improve it and cover all costs of the measures taken. These may include heating system repairs or replacements, winterization of your home which includes thermal insulation of walls and windows, replacing broken or irreparable doors and windows, installing weather-stripping, caulking and energy-saving light bulbs and other energy-efficient devices.
The result of such an intervention are increased comfort, decreased energy bills, and a home which is healthier and safer to live in than before.
7. NYSERDA EmPower New York Program is a program which fully covers repairs aimed to improve energy efficiency of your home. Once you qualify, certified technicians will make a detailed inspection of your home and its needs for greater energy efficiency, home appliance and heating system safety and health audit and advice on how to spend energy more efficiently. All needed repairs will be carried out at no cost for you. You can download an application here.
8. COMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF LONG ISLAND (CDCLI) is a charity organization offering a home winterization program to residents in need, focusing on specific groups such as the elderly and disabled. This program is funded by the Federal department of Energy and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. Qualifications are highly detailed and numbered in their Guideline.
The assistance covers system inspection and tune-up, repair, cleaning, installing weather-stripping, caulking, thermal insulation of walls, windows, attic and basement, repair or replacement of broken windows and water heating system repair or replacement.
For more info and applications please call (631) 471-1215, ext. 172
For most of these programs, residents need to provide proof of ownership or rental contract for the property, proof of income and number of residents, as well as recent energy bills.