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UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – As winter approaches, many residents may be wondering how they can plan to pay their heating bills. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has secured $1 billion in emergency supplemental low-income home energy assistance funding, with $60 million specifically helping New York State.

“As these days get shorter and the weather gets colder one of the areas of my focus is to make sure that all Utica residents not only have a safe home but also can heat their home. One of the things that we’ve worked so hard on is making sure that families can afford heating,” said Gillibrand.

The low-income home energy assistance program, known as LIHEAP, is a federal program that helps millions of Americans heat their homes.

“There’s an estimate that Utica area customers will have their prices raised by as much as 39% that could be hundreds of dollars for residents that they simply cannot afford and so this bill could not come at a better time,” said Gillibrand.

LIHEAP has helped over 1 million New York households, and in 2021 and 2022 Oneida County households have received over $17 million of assistance through this program.

“This program really helps families to stay warm we don’t want fires breaking out in the winter because people are using unsafe measures to keep their families warm. we have families that are working two jobs to put food on their table and being warm shouldn’t be a concern right now,” said Gillibrand.

Starting November 1st, households in Utica can apply for heap benefits online at with the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency or through the Oneida County Department of Social Services (OCDSS) in person or by mail. If needed, households can apply for additional funding through the Oneida County Department of Social Services starting January 3rd.