NORWICH – Applications for emergency home heating assistance funds began pouring into the Chenango County Department of Social Services Wednesday, as Jack Frost walloped Central New York and residents lulled into a false sense of security by the recent trend of clement winters found themselves unable to afford to heat their homes.
The Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program is designed to help county residents living in low income households who are already benefiting from the assistance program and are grappling with the prospect of having their heat turned off. With two major storms already passing through the region and thermometers hitting zero degrees, it seems as though it is going to be a long winter.
Opportunities for Chenango helps DSS with the processing of some of the applications for HEAP, but DSS is in charge of Emergency HEAP as well as all approvals.
“So far, we have already been seeing a few more people calling us for Emergency HEAP by accident,” said Rose Priest of Opportunities for Chenango, referring to the number of calls OFC receives each season from people trying to get in touch with the DSS for emergency aid. Last season Opportunities for Chenango helped DSS process around 1,000 people. “It’s a great program which benefits a great number of people,” she said.