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One of Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus’ favorite programs is HEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. About a month ago he found out that the finances in the annual program were running low. This month HEAP has received $100,000 of additional funding, Neuhaus saying, "No one in Orange County should have to choose whether to eat or stay warm". The program is available for residents who are 60 or older, and qualify as low income.

This New York benefit program consists of two components: regular and emergency benefits. In order to be eligible for the emergency benefit, a household/applicant must be in an emergency situation as well as be income eligible. An emergency situation is defined as having less than a 7-day supply of fuel, having utility service either terminated, or scheduled for termination. You may also be eligible for equipment repair or maintenance.

Filling out the application can be a challenge for some, but there are plenty of county staff that will help you if needed. These applications can be made either in person at multiple sites through DSS (the Department of Social Services), or by phone. DSS has offices in Goshen, Newburgh and Middletown: 11 Quarry Road Goshen, NY 10924 · 141 Broadway Newburgh, NY 12550 · 18 Seward Ave Middletown, NY 10940. CALLOrange County DSS at 845-61-3700.

Don't scrimp on food, or medicine or clothes to stay warm this Winter. Freezing pipes or illness will end up costing even more money. DSS and HEAP can help!

The HEAP program is also available for cooling in Summer, also has a Weatherization Program called WRAP - Weatherrization Referral & Packaging Program (WRAP). WRAP helps senior citizens reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. To be eligible for this program, persons must be aged 60 years or over, full-time County residents and have received HEAP.

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