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A04956 Summary:

COSPNSRSimon, Wallace, Otis, Ardila, Lupardo
Add 98, Soc Serv L
Establishes an emergency heating energy assistance program benefit to provide emergency assistance to certain households where such household is threatened with shut-off or an energy emergency due to nonpayment.
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A04956 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Solages
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to establishing an emergency heating energy assistance program benefit   PURPOSE: To make households eligible for the Heating Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and that meet certain criteria eligible for an Emergency Heating Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP) benefit without having a utility termination notice.   SUMMARY: Section 1. Amends the social services law by adding a new section 98. Section 2. Sets the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Rising utility costs have had a devastating financial impact on count- less New Yorkers, especially those who were already struggling to make ends meet. This legislation will provide an E-HEAP program benefit to households eligible for the HEAP program if such households are facing an energy emergency. Currently, in order to qualify for E-HEAP, a customer must be facing an emergency which is defined as when the loss of heat is imminent. For those customers receiving heat via a utility, a final termination notice of service is used as a threshold. This process mandates that a customer must have fallen significantly behind in payment in order to avail them- selves to this much-needed benefit. Eliminating this requirement and setting a financial threshold would reduce the administrative burden that the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, vendors, fuel suppliers, and customers must bear under the current process, and allow for customers to receive assistance in a more timely manner. This legislation will allow customers to qualify for this critical assistance prior to facing termination, ensuring that their service is not put at risk. Such a simple change will benefit low-income households and seniors on fixed incomes who might otherwise voluntarily go without food or medication so that they can pay their utility bills.   RACIAL JUSTICE IMPACT: People of color and low-income New Yorkers are disproportionately impacted by rising utility costs. Specifically, redlining and housing discrimination has resulted in Black and Latino households paying more in utilities than their White counterparts. Several studies have shown that low-quality housing stock due to racial segregation is a major driving factor of this disparity. This bill will make it easier for a household to receive E-HEAP when they are struggling to pay their utili- ty bills.   GENDER JUSTICE IMPACT: TBD.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2022: A9121; passed in the Assembly.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made and completed on or before such effective date.   1 Constantine Kontokosta, Vmcent Reina, Bartozs Bonczak, "Energy Cost Burdens for Low-Income and Minority Households: Evidence From Energy Benchmarking and Audit Data in Five U.S. Cities," Journal of the Ameri- can Planning Association 86 no. 1, (Sept. 2019): 89-105, https://doi.org/10.1080/01944363.2019.1647446: Brentin Mock, "Neighbor- hoods With More People of Color Pay Higher Energy Bills," Bloomberg, November 25, 2019, httns://www.bloomber.9,.com/news/articles/2019-11-25/why-white-household s-nav-less-for-utilities.
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