Program helps residents stay cool

Program helps residents stay cool

Image Credit: File

The Ohio Department of Development and HARCATUS Tri-County Community Action Organization 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 or assistance paying for central air-conditioning repairs. The program runs from July 1 until Sept. 30.

To apply for the program, clients are required to schedule an appointment with HARCATUS. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 855-806-9650.

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.

Last year HARCATUS assisted more than 390 families in Harrison, Carroll and Tuscarawas counties through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program.

“The intent of this program is to keep living spaces cool in the hot Ohio summer months. The Summer Crisis Program is geared to seniors age 60 and older but is also available to all low-income households who qualify. With temperatures already rising this year, we anticipate a high demand for this program. I encourage residents to call early before funds are gone,” said JoEllen Sanders, community services program director at HARCATUS.

The Summer Crisis Program assists low-income households with an older household member that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health, 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.

Eligible households can receive up to $500 if they are a customer of a regulated utility or $800 if they are a customer of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities.

The assistance is applied to their utility bill or to purchase an air-conditioning unit or fan or pay for central air-conditioning repairs. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to qualify for assistance. For a family of four, the annual income must be at or below $48,562.50.

Also, Ohioans enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus Program who meet the above criteria may be eligible for assistance toward their default PIPP payment, first PIPP payment, central air-conditioning repairs or may receive an air-conditioning unit and/or fan.

For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program and what is needed to apply, visit www.harcatus.org/heap.

To be connected to your local energy-assistance provider, visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or call 800-282-0880.