Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference at City Hall in Plattsburgh to announce the $1 billion in emergency supplemental Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding she fought to secure in the recently passed continuing resolution. LIHEAP is a federal program that helps millions of Americans, including over 1 million New York households, heat their homes and will be especially critical this winter as residential energy costs are expected to rise drastically. This aid will deliver an estimated $60 million in support for New Yorkers to defray their home energy costs. Senator Gillibrand was joined by John Redden, Commissioner of the Clinton County Department of Social Services, Christopher Rosenquest, Mayor of the City of Plattsburgh, and Michael Cashman, Plattsburgh Town Supervisor at Plattsburgh’s City Hall.
“LIHEAP provides a lifeline for thousands of low-income families in Clinton County,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As winter approaches and the cost of groceries and other essentials remains high, many simply cannot afford to pay exorbitant heating bills. Today, I’m proud to be delivering an estimated $60 million in emergency supplemental LIHEAP funding for our state. I fought for this additional money to ensure that New Yorkers who rely on LIHEAP assistance have what they need to heat their homes all winter and I will keep fighting to make sure every New Yorker can afford essentials and stay safe and warm.”
“This additional funding is welcome news and is critical to ensure that families and seniors on fixed income in Clinton County can heat their homes and stay safe during the harsh North Country winter,” said Mark Henry, Chairperson of the Clinton County Legislature (R-Area 3,Chazy.) “No one should have to choose between heating their homes, purchasing food or other necessities due to the rising fuel costs. The Clinton County Legislature thanks Senator Gillibrand for her commitment in obtaining this funding.”
“This additional funding is welcome news and is critical in ensuring that our low-income families and seniors on fixed income in Clinton County can heat their homes and stay safe during the long North Country winter,” said John Redden, Commissioner of the Clinton County Department of Social Services. “No one should have to choose between heating their homes purchasing food or other necessities due to the rising fuel costs”.
“We always appreciate when our State and Federal partners come to visit us in the North Country. Senator Gillibrand has always been an advocate and partner with the City of Plattsburgh and Clinton County so it’s a pleasure to have her back for a visit,” said Christopher Rosenquest, Mayor of the City of Plattsburgh. “More importantly though, her fight to fund the LIHEAP program ensures thousands of north country residents can continue to afford the essentials of living. Especially through what is often a harsh northern NY winter.”
“Folks are already making difficult financial decisions with increased costs to food and other household expenses. With electricity and natural gas prices expected to rise,” said Michael S. Cashman, Plattsburgh Town Supervisor. The North Country well known for its winters. Many families have been stressing about the anticipated rise in costs. The LIHEAP funding is more than welcomed. It is a critical resource assisting hardship while alleviating some of the stress. I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her ongoing work to deliver for the North Country.”
Senator Gillibrand has consistently worked to help New Yorkers afford their utilities. This $60 million in funding for LIHEAP in New York comes following a bipartisan, bicameral letter she joined in August calling on congressional leadership to provide emergency supplemental funding for LIHEAP.
Earlier this year, Senator Gillibrand called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use its statutory authority to ensure that Americans’ household energy bills would not be driven up by energy market manipulation in wholesale natural gas and electricity markets. Last year, she called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the ongoing energy crisis and ensure families that rely on LIHEAP had the resources they needed to stay warm through the winter. When millions of workers were laid off at the onset of the pandemic, Senator Gillibrand fought alongside her colleagues to deliver $900 million in LIHEAP funding in the CARES Act and an additional $4.5 billion in supplemental funding to the program as part of the American Rescue Plan. She is also a cosponsor of the Heating and Cooling Relief Act, which would expand LIHEAP to universalize energy assistance for all of those who need it.
Starting November 1st, households in Plattsburgh can apply for HEAP benefits online at myBenefits.ny.gov, at the HEAP Local District Contact at the Clinton County Department of Social Services, or by mailing a completed application to the Clinton County Department of Social Services. Starting January 3rd, households can apply for additional funding through the emergency HEAP benefit in person or in writing through the Clinton County Department of Social Services. There is no online option.