ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Albany County leaders spoke at City Hall about federal assistance available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Eligibility for the program is based on several factors—including gross monthly income.

“It provides money for families when they have nowhere left to turn,” Gillibrand said. “It offers them support to keep their homes heated and to keep themselves safe.”

The program will bring $412 million for New Yorkers needing utility bill assistance, with $63 million added through an additional support package passed by Congress in September. That added aid was a priority for many members of Congress as prices continue rising nationwide with no sign of slowing down. In New York, National Grid said that they expect home heating prices to increase by 39% for natural gas and 22% for electric.

“Some people can simply not afford that, especially after these last few years with COVID, where many people have been struggling to make ends meet,” Gillibrand said. “Going without utilities is not an option.”

Albany County leaders said that the number of applicants for energy assistance doubled from November 2021 to November 2022 and they expect that number to increase as the winter season begins. “We have enough problems trying to pay for food, pay the rent, pay the mortgage and this is just another way of securing people and children have a warm house this winter,” County Executive Dan McCoy said.