Combatting the rising cost of home heating this winter won’t be easy, but organizations in New York are trying to help.

Clinton Community College hosted a Winter Energy Fair, where the goal was to give those in need better access to the resources that will help them keep their homes warm this winter.

“A lot of people don’t know the programs that are out for them right now,” said Jody Mercaldi, an administrative assistant at the Clinton County Office for the Aging.

Representatives from 6 different organizations came to the auditorium at Clinton Community College, and the event offered them a chance to share information about the services they offer to people who may need help.

“We go around the state and talk to people about getting ready for the winter, getting ready for the higher bills in heating,” said Richard Berkley, Director of Consumer Services at the NYS Department of Public Service.

Organizations traveling around the state include the Energy Research and Development Authority, Housing and Community Renewal, Power Authority, and the Office for the Aging.

“Our mission here at the Office for the Aging is to help people age safely in their home, and connect them with different resources within our community that they may not know about,” Mercaldi said.

One of those resources is the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), that is designed to help those in need pay for heating costs during the winter and offers the most immediate financial help for people.

“We help people fill out the applications and determine if they qualify for benefits through the heap program,” Mercaldi said. “There are different tiers, based on your household size and the gross income of the household.”

HEAP has been around since the 1980’s, but with fueling costs expected to rise by 29% this year, benefits have been expanded to help more people keep their homes warm.

If you were not able to attend Monday’s fair, there will be a virtual workshop on January 26th, 2023. The workshop will also offer information about energy affordability programs and financial assistance programs.

For more information on if you qualify for HEAP benefits and how much assistance you qualify for, go to https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/