Trying to keep cool during summer months can be costly, and those living in poverty often struggle to keep up with rising energy bills during this time of year.
Relief is on its way, however. The Community Action Organization (CAO) of Scioto County announced that the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program will start July 1.
HEAP provides eligible Ohioans assistance paying an electric bill, an air conditioner, or assistance paying for central air conditioning repairs. The program runs from July 1 until August 31, 2017.
“July and August can be two extremely hot months in Ohio, and that can take a toll on older Ohioans and Ohioans with breathing conditions,” said David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency.
In 2016, more than 500 families in Scioto County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program. The Summer Crisis Program specifically assists those at greatest risk. In order to qualify the household much be a low-income household with an older household member (60 years or older) or a household that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health. Qualifying conditions can include lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or asthma. Summer heat can be very difficult for such individuals.
“[A]ssistance is available for those that need help with cooling due to the extreme heat,” Angela Davis, Director, Social Service Department CAO of Scioto County stressed.
Those with difficulty traveling are not required to visit the HEAP office. Home appointment are available for eligible homebound individuals.
Through the program, households can receive up to $300 if they are a customer of a regulated utility, or $500 if they are a customer of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities to help with their cooling bills. The assistance is applied to their utility bill or applied to central air conditioning repair costs. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for assistance.
For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $43,050. Ohioans enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus Program (PIPP Plus) are not eligible for bill payment assistance through the program, but are encouraged to work with CAO of Scioto County to identify other opportunities for assistance.
For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program locally, contact CAO of Scioto County HEAP Office at (740) 354-7541. Additional information can also be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling (800) 282-0880.
-Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.