Sullivan officials taking steps to avoid last year’s HEAP fiasco

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MONTICELLO – It’s not even summer
yet, but Sullivan County officials are looking back and planning ahead,
to avoid the mess with last winter’s Home Energy Assistance Program.
The county was left with a pile of HEAP applications that were not processed
in a timely manner.

William Moon came out of retirement to serve as Division of Health and Family
Services Deputy Commissioner, with a key task of straightening things out
with HEAP.

“Want to make sure that our planning encompasses the full year, and
that has to rest with personnel because in the last couple of cycles, we’ve
gotten new people who needed to be trained from the ground up,” Moon
told the County Legislature’s Health and Family Services Committee
on Thursday.

Moon said making sure people handling HEAP this year know what they are
doing is half the job. Another big part is making the system user-friendly.

That includes having places to go to apply, other than the crowded social
services building outside Liberty.

“We want to have places in Liberty and Monticello and probably in
some outposts in other areas of the county that’s noticed, where people
can go and start and initiate the HEAP process.”

There are an estimated 3,200 HEAP eligible households in the county.

Moon said making this, in essence, a one-stop-shopping process for all of
them is the goal.