The Ohio Development Services Agency and Highland County Community Action will help income-eligible Ohioans stay cool during the hot summer months. The Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program provides eligible Ohioans with assistance paying an electric bill or assistance paying for central air-conditioning repairs. The program runs from July 1 until Aug. 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 400 families in Highland County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program.
“Although fewer families access the assistance provided through the Summer Crisis Program than the Winter Crisis Program, it is an extremely important component of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Without these funds, many of our most vulnerable families would find it impossible to operate any cooling because of the increased costs, needed maintenance, or the lack of an air-conditioning unit,” stated Christi Hauke, director of dmergency services, Highland County Community Action.
The Summer Crisis Program assists low-income households with an older household member (60 years or older), or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health. Conditions can include lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or asthma.
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 $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 Highland County Community Action to identify other opportunities for assistance.
For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program locally, contact Highland County Community Action at 937-393-3458. Additional information can also be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling (800) 282-0880.
Submitted by Ruth Cutright, executive assistant, Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc.