Still time to sign up for HEAP
AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - As we face the potential of near record breaking low temperatures overnight Wednesday night, many are still worrying about how they will afford to heat their homes. One program available to help is the HEAP program or Home Energy Assistance Program.
Darren Woods, the Director of the Aroostook Emergency Management Agency, says “Our concern is people will get into a spot where they just run out of fuel or they can’t afford to keep the lights going. I’ve been on the receiving end of those calls where people have said, I just don’t know what to do. I have my family here and we need help.”
And Woods, isn’t alone, as Joshua Mcatee, the HEAP Manager for ACAP says they have had a record number of calls asking to sign up for the Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP. Mcatee says the guidelines for the HEAP program have gone up this year.
Mcatee says, “All of them went up a couple hundred dollars for the number of people in each household, so please check to see if you are close to the guidelines to see and there are those medical deductions that can help you too. For those who are in subsidized housing, as well as TANIF and SNAP. If you receive those benefits such as food stamps you are categorically eligible.”
Mcatee adds the payout went up about 100 dollars for HEAP and the emergency payout went up by 200 dollars. The average payout for HEAP is around 1000 dollars, but Mcatee says it really depends on several factors, like the number of people in the household and the number of rooms in the house, as to how much each household actually receives.
According to Mcatee, “Some of the examples of households that would qualify for HEAP, a home where there’s only social security received. That’s a very common one, you’ll always qualify. And then of course we have the income guidelines, but there’s lots of homes where there may be multiple children and only one working parent and in those situations, they may be, even if they think they wouldn’t qualify, they do qualify.”
Mcatee says everyone should call and see if HEAP is right for their family.
“The great thing about HEAP is it is a gateway to many other programs at ACAP, such as the heat pump program, weatherization, aging in place, the chip program. You’re not taking money from anyone else. This is federal funds and there’s plenty to go around. It’s already fixed and locked in for each family.” says Mcatee.
Mcatee adds the wait time has been reduced to 6 to 8 weeks, but recommends calling sooner rather than later. For more information or to sign up call 768-3053 or visit ACAPs website. If you have an emergency over a weekend or after business hours you can call 211.
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