November 10, 2009

Media Contact:
Michelle D. Bowen
518-463-3175 ext 101

ACAP Now Accepting HEAP Applications
ACAP Accepts Applications on Behalf of OTDA for Albany Residents

Albany, NY – November 10, 2009 - Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP) has announced the annual launch of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which helps to provide crucial energy assistance benefits that elderly and low-income households rely upon to keep their homes warm in the winter, particularly in these difficult economic times.

HEAP is a federally funded program administered through the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). ACAP will begin accepting HEAP applications on November 1. Albany County applicants can avoid potentially long lines at the Department of Social Services by going directly to ACAP’s administrative office, located at 333 Sheridan Avenue in Albany to apply.

“As the winter months come upon us, we do not want our most vulnerable residents to have to choose between heating their homes and fulfilling other basic needs,” said Kathy Cloutier, ACAP’s Executive Director. “It’s imperative that we work even harder during this economic downturn to reach the increasing number of low-income families in Albany County needing this important benefit.”

This season the maximum regular benefit a household can receive is $700. In addition, OTDA has increased eligibility levels to the maximum currently allowed under law. For example, a family of four with a household income of as much as $46,837 would be eligible for assistance this year, an increase from $45,312 last year.

OTDA designed the HEAP program so that the greatest benefits are provided to vulnerable, low-income families that spend a large percentage of their income on energy costs. “Vulnerable” individuals are defined as children less than six years of age, adults at least 60 years of age, and disabled individuals.

Income eligible residents in Albany County can receive one benefit a season and may also be eligible for an emergency benefit if they are in impending danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off.

Last year ACAP helped over 3,500 low-income households in Albany County apply for HEAP benefits. That number is expected to significantly increase this season.

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