With New Yorkers dealing with an extremely cold start to the new year, Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for more federal heating aid to be made available.
Schools and businesses throughout northern New York were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, after storms dropped nearly three feet of snow in Watertown and the surrounding towns. The heavy snowfall was accompanied by wind chill temperatures that approached -30 degrees.
On Wednesday Schumer called for $35 million more in low income heating assistance grants to be given out. He says that's enough to help another 500,000 New Yorkers stay warm and pay their energy bills.
"The stockpile of heating aid is waiting in the wings," Schumer said. "We need to let it out so these seniors and millions more can stay warm this winter. New Yorkers should not be forced to make the choice between putting food on the table, paying for prescription drugs or heating their home.
The $35 million is from the nearly $400 million in money, known as LIHEAP, already budgeted by the Department of Health and Human Services. The money is given out in annual grants on a first come basis.
Schumer says he wants to see more heating aid for New Yorkers put in the next federal budget.