Beginning Feb. 12, households overwhelmed with giant heating bills during this cold winter, can apply for a second emergency benefit through the federal Home Energy Assistance Program, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Feb. 7
. Because of the extreme cold there has been a 40 percent increase in requests for emergency heating assistance compared to last year in many parts of the state. "The availability of this funding will help keep our most vulnerable New Yorkers warm and safe this winter," Cuomo was quoted in a press release. "New York is suffering a one-two-punch this season with cold temperatures and rising energy prices, and I am encouraging all eligible New Yorkers to apply for assistance." Usually, eligible households are only allowed to receive one HEAP benefit and one emergency HEAP benefit each winter if faced with an energy crisis. This year, households that have already received a regular and emergency benefit will be able to apply for additional funding.