From time to time there is a special program that can really help some people who are in need of assistance. New York has several programs available that can step in and provide a helping hand for people all over the Empire State when they run into tough times.

Some of these programs you've probably heard of: SNAP, HEAP, Public Assistance, and Section 8 are examples of different state and federal programs that are there to help those who can't help themselves.

Then there are some other programs that exist that are not necessarily that well known. One of those programs, run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) can maybe help you replace your freezer, refrigerator, or furnace if they aren't in good condition.

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The EmPower NY Program was designed by New York State to help certain New Yorkers make upgrades to their homes or apartments to increase energy efficiency. Those upgrades typically happen at no cost to the homeowner or tenant, and according to NYSERDA officials, more than 160,000 people in New York have already received some benefits from the program.

Some of the upgrades the program can help with include:

  • Attic and wall insulation
  • Installation of heating and/or cooling heat pumps
  • Replacement of old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers
  • Connection to the community solar energy grid

EmPowerNY can also repair or replace an aging or inefficient furnace or heating system. This may be a good thing to look into before New York institutes the gas appliance and heating ban that officials are working on.

To qualify for EmPower NY assistance, you need to be a renter or homeowner who lives in New York State and resides in a house or building that has less than 100 units. You also have to have your electric service provided by Central Hudson, Con Edison, National Grid, NYSEG, Orange and Rockland, Rochester Gas & Electric and pay SBC. You can also heat your home with oil, propane, or kerosene.

Your household income, the income of everyone who lives in the house, has to be at or below 60% of the New York State median income. For a family of 4, that amounts to $65,820 per year. You also can qualify if you receive any sort of utility assistance like HEAP.

If you think you qualify for this or want to find out more information, you can check the EmPower NY website here. You can also contact NYSERDA at 1-877-697-6278. You can also find a paper copy of the EmPower NY application here.

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