The state of Ohio is currently operating the Home Energy Assistance Program including a winter crisis component which opened on Nov. 1, 2016. Eligible households have incomes at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline and are facing an immediate threat to their heating service either through a disconnect notice for electric or natural gas or with less than an 10-day supply of bulk fuel.
The program also provides access to furnace repair.
Payments are made based on the main heating service and are designed to ensure at least 30 days of heating in the home.
Applicants must complete a face-to-face interview with a trained provider. In Highland County, applications can be made at Highland County Community Action located in Hillsboro and Greenfield at 1487 N. High St. and 338 Lafayette St., respectively. Appointments are encouraged. Emergency walk-ins are accepted when the situation warrants. Home visits are available to those who qualify.
All applicants must provide: picture ID, proof of citizenship for all household members, Social Security Numbers for all household members, documentation of income received in the home from all sources for the most recently completed 13-week period, both utility bills, proof of disability, if applicable, and landlord information if renting. Determinations are made based on gross income with exclusions for health, dental and vision insurance as well as child support paid outside of the home.
Payments can only be made when the service is in an adult household member’s name or the landlord’s name with documentation to prove it cannot be switched, but the renter is required to pay. Some situations may require co-payments by applicants to the utility.
To date, Highland County Community Action has processed more than 1,000 applications for emergency assistance. Of those households served, 34.6 percent work at least part-time while 57.7 percent are disabled or retired, meeting their needs on a fixed income. A total of 59.8 percent are homeowners while 40.4 percent rent their homes.
More information can be obtained by visiting www.hccao.org or calling 937-393-3458 or 937-981-9718.
Submitted by Ruth Cutright, executive assistant, Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc.