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HEAP assistance available for those in need

TONAWANDA - On Tuesday, Dec. 4 a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Outreach will be held at the United Way of the Tonawandas, 34 Seymour St., Tonawanda, 14150. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and interviews will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s a fully federal funded program and we are happy to administer it for them. There are a lot of people out there who are struggling and more people than in past years, because of the struggling economy. This gives them some help in paying their heating bills,” said Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick.

The program will assist applicants, who are income eligible, with their heating, electricity, and energy conservation. The outreach is administered by Erie County Departments of Social Services and Senior Services.

“As winter approaches it is extremely important that anyone who needs help heating their home take the proper steps to apply for HEAP to ensure they receive assistance. These outreach events help eligible residents with the applications process, which can be overwhelming. Anyone who needs an application or has questions is encouraged to contact my office,” said Legislator Hardwick.

Applicants who are applying must have the following items: Proof of gross income received within the last 30 days for all household members, paystubs from the last month, award letters for those who receive social security, pension, unemployment, etc, a yearly statement of interest received, dividend proof, Social Security numbers for all household members, another form of ID, proof of residency and a current heat and electric bill.

There will be another HEAP outreach at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Grand Island Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

It is important to apply early because HEAP benefits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit per season, but may also be eligible for an emergency HEAP benefit if they are in danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off. Applications for emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted beginning Jan. 2, 2013.

“It’s my hope that next year fewer people will qualify and need the assistance, because the economy will begin to perk up, people will have better jobs and will be doing a lot better by then,” said Legislator Hardwick. “In the meantime this assistance helps people make ends meet.”

For questions or additional information, please call the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644 or HEAP Application Request Line at 858-1969 or contact Legislator Hardwick at 858-8672 or email kevin.hardwick@erie.gov or visit www.erie.gov/socialservices .
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