Pay Bills

More Onondaga County residents may need extra help paying their energy bills this winter

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by Syracuse on Friday to highlight funding she secured for a home heating assistance program ahead of what will likely be a tougher winter for some residents to pay their bills. She says she fought to secure about $1 billion in emergency funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. About $60 million will go to New Yorkers. At the Peace Inc. Eastside Family Resource Center, she says, with rising costs, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to balance finances.

Locally, they estimate central New York fares should increase by 39%. That’s a lot of money that our seniors, that our families can’t afford. And when you’re on low income or on a fixed income, you have to make tough decisions between heating your home, shopping for groceries, paying for your medications, and those are horrible choices that families and individuals shouldn’t have to make. Manufacture.”

Onondaga County households received more than $26 million through LIHEAP last winter. PEACE Inc.’s director of energy and housing services, Sally Ward, says the funding is crucial to the program’s mission to help those who need help paying their bills stay warm.

HEAP provides 66% of our budget funding, so for program year 22, our HEAP dollars are $1.7 million. And we combine that with DOE funds and we go into homes and make them more energy efficient. We insulate them, we seal them, we give them new high-efficiency ovens. And what that actually does is make the HEAP dollars go a lot further.”

Residents can apply for LIHEAP using the Onondaga County Social Services website at ongov.net.