Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program to the rescue

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

If there is one thing that has been consistent in Appalachia over the years, it is the need for assistance in paying heating bills in the winter. That’s why the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program has become so important to residents in southern Ohio as well as the rest of the state.

“It’s hard to gauge whether there has been an increase in requests locally at this point in the program because we are always busiest when the program first begins in November,” Angela Davis of Community Action Organization (CAO) of Scioto County, said. “Customers can apply for the Winter Crisis Program assistance through March 31, 2017.”

Davis said CAO of Scioto County and Ohio Development Services Agency will help eligible Ohioans stay warm during the cold winter months. The Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program provides eligible Ohioans heating assistance if they are disconnected from their heating source, threatened with disconnection or if they have less than 25 percent supply of bulk fuel. The program runs from November 1, 2016 until March 31, 2017.

“Working with CAO of Scioto County, we want to help Ohioans stay warm this winter,” David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said.

Many families in Scioto County have received assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program that began Nov. 1.

“Our HEAP Staff have already completed applications for over 1,000 households through scheduled appointments, walk-in appointments, and home visits,” Steve Sturgill, Executive Director of CAO of Scioto County, said. “We are making every effort to help those in need of assistance with their winter heating bills.”

To qualify for the Winter Crisis Program, a household must be threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected or have less than a 25 percent supply of bulk fuel. The household must also have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $42,525. From November 2015 – March 2016, more than 118,000 Ohioans were helped by the program statewide.

Individuals interested in receiving Winter Crisis assistance must have a face-to-face interview at the local HEAP provider. Customers must bring the following items to their appointment – proof of income (copies of pay stubs), copies of their most recent energy bills, photo ID, a list of all household members with Social Security numbers and birth dates and proof of U.S. citizenship/legal residency for all household members.

Documents that are accepted to prove citizenship/legal residency include: a Social Security Card, birth certificate, U.S. Passport, naturalization paper/certification of citizenship, permanent VISA, and INS ID Card.

Ohioans can also call the toll-free hotline at 800-282-0880, Monday through Friday (hearing impaired customers may dial (800) 686-1557 for assistance) or visit http://development.ohio.gov/is/is_heapwinter.htm for more information about the Winter Crisis Program.

For more information about energy assistance programs and a list of energy assistance providers, call 800-282-0880 or visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov.


By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.