Having trouble beating the heat? Maybe there is a financial reason you can’t afford a way to cool your home.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced Wednesday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released more than $14.5 million to the State of Ohio Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). During the 2013-2014 winter, more than 420,000 Ohio homes used LIHEAP to help cover their home energy costs. In 2015 more than 200 families in Scioto County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis program.
“LIHEAP gives low-income families and seniors the ability to keep their homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer,” Brown said. “As we get closer to warmer temperatures, it’s a relief that Ohio will have additional funding to distribute to those most in need.”
CAO of Scioto County and Ohio Development Services Agency will help income-eligible Ohioans stay cool during the hot summer months. The Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis program provides eligible Ohioans assistance paying an electric bill or assistance paying for central air conditioning repairs. The program runs from July 1 until August 31, 2016.
“Working with CAO of Scioto County we want to reduce the risk of heat related illness during July and August. These two months can be extremely hot in Ohio and that can take a toll on older Ohioans and Ohioans with breathing conditions,” David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said.
The Summer Crisis 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. This can include lung disease; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease; or asthma, which affects more than 850,000 Ohioans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Households with an elderly member, or households that have their physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed, may begin scheduling appointments for the 2016 Summer Crisis Program beginning June 17, 2016, by calling CAO of Scioto County HEAP office at (740) 354-7541.
Eligible 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. 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 $42,525.00.
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 Community Action to identify other opportunities for assistance.
For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program locally, contact the CAO HEAP Office at (740) 354-7541. Additional information can also be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling the toll-free at (800) 282-0880.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.