$339 million in aid released for Sandy supplies - New York News

$339 million in aid released for Sandy supplies

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The federal government is releasing $339 million dollars from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to New York to help people affected by Superstorm Sandy.

The money is usually used to purchase fuel to heat homes but can be used in emergencies to purchase supplies; from coats and blankets to generators.  It can also be used to pay for temporary rentals of equipment for people without heat and electricity.

LIHEAP is the federally funded program that helps low-income households and seniors with energy bills.

Sen. Charles Schumer(D-NY) pressed for the funds to be released early.

"These funds will help provide relief to the Hurricane Sandy victims that are still without power and heat," said Schumer. "LIHEAP recipients should not have to choose between keeping warm and paying for food."

In order to qualify, usually residents must need financial assistance for home energy costs and must meet a specific threshold of annual income before taxes. During an energy crisis, LIHEAP allows states greater flexibility.

For the New Yorkers whose homes have been destroyed by the hurricane, these funds may be used to place people in locations that have access to heating.  Schumer added that the funds may also be used to repair or replace furnaces or purchase generators.

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