Program Description

The Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program (HEARTWAP) is designed to provide heating system repair and replacement services to low-income households. The Energy Conservation Unit (ECU) within DHCD's Division of Community Services (DCS), has programmatic and fiscal oversight of the HEARTWAP. The program is operated locally by a network of 22 community-based organizations across the Commonwealth under contract with DHCD.

How it Works:

The HEARTWAP provides heating system services to income-eligible households. The program is funded through the conservation set-aside from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP, more commonly known as Fuel Assistance). HEARTWAP services help to provide a more comfortable, safe home and a permanent improvement in the lives of the occupants. The program is operational year round. During the winter months, the program serves primarily as an emergency intervention service to provide assistance to eligible clients having problems with the operation of their primary heating system. Eligible households call the local administering agencies and notify HEARTWAP staff that they are having a problem. Private-sector heating system service companies, under contract with the local agency, provide services necessary to keep the heating system operating effectively and safely. The client's dealer of record is utilized whenever possible. Provisions are in place for clients to contact their dealer directly if the emergency occurs during the evening or on weekends. During the spring and summer months, HEARTWAP provides heating system maintenance services subject to the availability of funds.

Who Is Eligible:

Households eligible for LIHEAP are also eligible for HEARTWAP which includes households with income that does not exceed 60% of the Estimated State Median Income. Qualified homeowners are eligible for all services and qualified tenants are eligible for some services, but they are required to first contact their landlord, the party responsible for maintaining their heating system.

Application Process:

Applicants must apply for and be determined eligible for the current year Federal LIHEAP (Fuel Assistance) to become eligible for the HEARTWAP. The head of household must apply to the local LIHEAP agency. Applicants are required to provide household income information.


HEARTWAP services vary depending on the specific needs of the home. Emergency repairs average between $100 - $300. Heating system replacements for unsafe and inoperable systems can be $2,500 for a forced warm air furnace, $2,750 for a hot water boiler or $3,000 for a steam boiler. Related asbestos abatement (only when absolutely necessary in conjunction with the heating system work) is allowable up to $1,600. Prior DHCD approval is required for all heating system replacements and asbestos abatement jobs. Agencies attempt to the greatest extent possible to use available utility funds to supplement HEARTWAP for heating system replacements. In some cases, clients are requested (but not required) to make an in-kind contribution towards the heating system service.

For More Information:

Please contact DHCD's Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400, or toll free at 1-800-632-8175.