The Ohio Development Services Agency and Highland County Community Action Org., Inc. 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, obtaining a window air-conditioner, or assistance paying for central air or conditioning repairs. The program runs from July 1 until Sept. 30.
To apply for the program, clients are required to schedule an appointment with Highland County Community Action. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 937-393-3458 or 937-981-9718.
Clients need to bring copies of the following documents to their appointment:
* Copies of their most recent energy bills;
* A list of all household members and proof of income for the last 30 days or 12 months for each member;
* Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members;
* Proof of disability (if applicable);
* Physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health (if there isn’t a household member over the age of 60); and
* Picture ID for the main applicant.
Last year more than 300 families in Highland County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program with direct assistance.
“During the heat of summer some of our most vulnerable community members find it impossible to breathe without cool air; the cost is often so high to operate cooling systems that many seniors and medically fragile people choose to remain in stifling heat,” said Christi Hauke, HCCAO director of social services.
The Summer Crisis Program assists low-income households with: an older household member (60 years or older) that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have a disconnect notice, have been shut off, are trying to establish new service on their electric bill, or require air-conditioning. Conditions can include such things as lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
The assistance is applied to their utility bill, applied to central air-conditioning repair costs or they may receive a window A/C unit. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to quality for assistance.
For more information about Energy Assistance Programs call 800-282-0880, Monday through Friday (hearing impaired clients may dial 711 for assistance) and for a list of energy assistance providers select option 2, or visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov.
Submitted by Laura Bosier, executive assistant, Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc.