The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Summer Crisis Program, administered by the Ohio Department of Development's Community Development Division, began Wednesday and continues through Aug. 31.
In Scioto County, the HEAP Summer Crisis Program is handled through Community Action Organization of Scioto County.
The program provides assistance to low-income households with an elderly member (60 years or older), or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member's health. These households are eligible for electric bill payment assistance.
“It provides a payment on an electric bill up to $175,” said Angela Davis of CAO. “In order to be qualified for that, it’s anyone over 60 that is income eligible, and for people under 60 to get that assistance, they have to have a prescription or something from their physician that says that it is medically necessary for them to have their electric on, such as for cooling purposes.”
Davis said each county is allocated a certain amount of funds for the program — Scioto County received $64,575 — and in past years had provided air conditioners for some households.
"Because of the shortage of funds, we don't have enough money to purchase air conditioners and help with electricity, too. So what we're doing, instead of getting air conditioners for just a few, we're going to help with electric bills. The point is, we'll be able to serve more people."
Kathy Middleton, Heap coordinator, said she had already taken 15 applications Thursday, while other staff members were also assisting clients with their paperwork.
Davis emphasized, "We're trying to help as many people as we can."
The Community Action Organization of Scioto County is located at 443 Third St., Portsmouth, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For an appointment or more information, call (740) 354-7541.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234.