CAO seeks those needing HEAP assistance

By Frank Lewis

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A HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) Outreach Case Aide will be available to assist with completing HEAP applications. People wanting help with their application must bring Social Security cards for all household members, proof of income for the past 90 days, primary heating bill, and electric bill.

Angela Davis, who administers the HEAP program for Community Action Organization of Scioto County said there will be an outreach day on Nov. 20 (Friday) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Head Start Center at Northwest, located directly across from the Briar Patch.

“We’re going to have our HEAP outreach person there. There’s going to be the Head Start staff and there may be some staff from the Employment Training program,” Davis said. “Paula Talbert can actually do a HEAP application if she’s out there or get somebody’s information or answer questions. Head Start will be possibly taking applications for children that might be eligible. That doesn’t mean that they will be able to get in right away, but they’ll be on the list. There will also be people who will have information from our Weatherization department and our dental clinic and from our WIC office.”

HEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Community Assistance (OCA). It helps eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating.

A HEAP representative will be at Crabtree’s Market, 12225 Ohio 348, Lucasville on Dec. 4 from 1-3 p.m. and Minford IGA, 8348 Ohio 335, Minford on Dec. 11 from 1-3 p.m.

Home visits are available for shut-ins that are elderly or disabled. Contact Paula Talbert at 740-354-7541 to schedule a home visit.

“We want to get out into other areas of the county so that people that have a hard time getting into Portsmouth for one reason or another,” Davis said. “We’re planning on doing something maybe in the Franklin Furnace area and maybe out in Rarden. So people can just stop by and see if there is something that they may be eligible for but they missed.”

Seth Moore is CAO’s HEAP coordinator, so he see’s the need up close and personally

“It feels pretty good,” Moore said. “We have people who just couldn’t make it. Somebody on a fixed income – they’re getting SSI of $733 a month and they’ve already got a large rent of $450 or more a month that’s taking more than half their check and then they get an electric bill in of $300-$400 a month. The money just doesn’t add up that way.”

He said with the PIPP Plus program they can get their energy bills down to less than $100 a month.

PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Plan) Plus helps Ohioans manage their energy costs year round to avoid disconnection. It allows participants to pay a percentage of their gross income toward their utility bills instead of the total amount of current charges. PIPP is only available through AEP and Columbia Gas.

The Winter Crisis Program (WCP), a form of emergency HEAP, helps income eligible Ohioans that are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected or have less than a 10 day supply of bulk fuel (propane, fuel oil, kerosene, wood or coal) maintain their utility service. This program runs from November 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016.

“There is a very big need for it in this community,” Davis said. “People are living on fixed incomes and it is just hard to make ends meet with the rising cost of electric, with people that use kerosene and fuel oil and bulk fuels, all of those costs are going up but people’s income are remaining the same.”

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