More than $90 million (£66.8m) of funding has been announced to help low and middle income New Yorkers avoid having their home heating disconnected amid the spike in winter fuel prices.
The Home Energy Assistance Programme, administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, has started accepting emergency benefit applications from 3rd January for those householders who have already used up their regular benefits and are now facing a heating emergency.
The amount per household has been increased by at least 32% and up to 42%, depending on the type of heating fuel used.
A home heated with natural gas will now be eligible for $465 (£345) of benefit, while a home using oil, kerosene or propane will be eligible for $965 (£717) of funding.
The New York Public Service Commission has forecast electricity and natural gas bills will be “significantly higher” for the 2021-22 winter season, with natural gas projected to increase by an average of around 21% statewide.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said: “With the arrival of frigid winter weather and surging fuel prices, we must do everything in our power to safeguard vulnerable New Yorkers struggling to keep their heat on.
“This significant increase in available emergency home heating aid represents a lifeline for tens of thousands of families. It will help them heat their homes, prevent overdue bills from piling up and avoid the incredible stress and anxiety that can overwhelm anyone facing a heating emergency.”