If it doesn't seem like winter in northern Maine today, hang in there, because the cold is coming soon and ACAP wants you and your family to be affordably warm.

We caught up with Jason Parent, Executive Director of Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP), to talk about the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP.

Parent explained what HEAP is and how it can benefit those in The County,

"It's (HEAP) a federal program and is available for people across the country, but we're really concerned about helping people here in Aroostook County. We have cold winters and many people struggle to keep their homes warm."

Parent went on to say that ACAP doesn't want people making decisions between prescription drugs that they need or food.

He went on to say that ACAP has locations across Aroostook County and their personnel go to outlying areas in order to do what they call 'intake' or receive applications from those who need heating assistance.

How The Home Energy Assistance Program Works

Once a family or individual qualifies for the home energy assistance program, a credit is applied to the families fuel vendor to be able to help to heat their home upon qualification.

Christine Dyment, Energy Program Supervisor, clarified why someone or a family would want to visit with ACAP and get an appointment and advised how to do so.

"They can call us at the Presque Isle office at 768-3053 and when you call that number you're able to make appointments throughout any place in The County that we do interviews which is Houlton, Presque Isle, Caribou, Madawaska, and Fort Kent."

Who Qualifies For The Program?

There are federal income guidelines that need to met in order to qualify. For example, if you're a household with a family of four, 3 months income under $9,413 gross would qualify you for this program.

Dyment said that if you find yourself over the guideline, they can always deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses in order to help a family qualify.

She said when a family receives a home energy assistance benefit, that benefit will go directly to the fuel company and set on your account as a credit which can be used as needed. .

For more information on the Home Energy Assistance Program or to review federal income guidelines, you may visit ACAP's website here or call them at 768-3053.