HEAP Winter Crisis Program begins Nov. 1


The Highland County Community Action Organization 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 Nov. 1, 2017 until March 31, 2018.

“We want to help Ohioans stay warm this winter,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “Working with Highland County Community Action, we’re helping Ohioans manage their energy costs this winter.”

More than 1,600 families in Highland County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program last year.

As one Highland County Community Action staff member, Amy Lynch, said, “Heap and WCP are important to our clients. The support system allows households to get help with their heating costs. There are a great deal of households who actually include this benefit into their winter budget. For some households this is their only source of heat, they cannot afford anything else. They become frugal with the thermometer to make it last. Without these programs many people would go without necessary items such as medication or limited food to pay for heating costs.”

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 $43,050. From November 2016 to March 2017, more than 104,799 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;

• List of all household members with Social Security Numbers and birth dates;

• Proof of U.S. citizenship/legal residency for all household members;

• Picture ID for the main applicant;

• Proof of disability, if applicable.

Examples of 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 call the toll-free hotline at 800-282-0880, Monday through Friday (hearing impaired customers may dial 711 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 call 800-282-0880 and for a list of energy assistance providers select option 2, or visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov.

Submitted by Ruth Cutright, executive assistant, Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc.

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