By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Help is available for low income homeowners having trouble keeping up with the high costs of heating their houses.
State Sen. Martin Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) is urging residents to sign up for the National Grid Neighborhood Heating Fund, a program that provides assistance to eligible homeowners during the cold winter months.
Golden said he is working in partnership with National Grid and with HeartShare Human Services of New York to get the funding to qualifying homeowners. HeartShare, a non-profit social services agency based in downtown Brooklyn, has been administering the program for National Grid since 1995. HeartShare covers Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens.
National Grid established the Neighborhood Heating Fund in 1983 to assist low-income families with the cost of heat during the winter months.
“We all know how much it costs to heat our homes and for many families, these bills place a true financial burden on a household budget,” Golden said. “This program will again help many local families this year, and I encourage those in need to contact my office for details. I thank HeartShare for their continued dedication to this program and selecting my office as a program site in our community.”
“This is a great program. We are helping a lot of people who might have been in danger of a shutoff. Some of them might have received shutoff notices already. This program will avert that from happening,” Bill Guarinello, president and CEO of HeartShare told the Brooklyn Eagle. “We run this program in a cost-efficient way with almost no overhead."
Eligibility is based on household size and gross monthly income.
“The great thing is that once a person fills out the application and is found to be eligible, we can get money into their account immediately. There’s no wait for the check to come in the mail,” Guarinello said.
For an application or for more information about the fund, call Golden’s office at 718-238-6044 or visit HeartShare’s website at www.heartshare.org.
Applicants are required to show proof of income, a Social Security card and identification for everyone in the household. They are also required to present an unpaid gas bill.
The program runs from December through March, as long as funding is available, according to Golden.
The fund also accepts contributions. Residents can make a contribution by texting WARM to 27722 to make a $5 tax-deductible donation and replying with the word YES when prompted to confirm the donation. Standard carrier rates may apply.