Help available to beat the heat

Thermomter HOT

Bridges Community Action Partnership and the Ohio Development Services Agency want to remind Ohioans that help is available to stay cool during hot summer days.

The Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program runs through Aug. 31, and provides eligible Ohioans assistance paying an electric bill or assistance paying for central air conditioning repairs. Eligible customers may also receive a portable air conditioner or fan.

The 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. This can include lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or asthma.

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 $43,925.

To apply for the program, customers are required to schedule an appointment with Bridges Community Action Partnership.

Customers need to take: a copy of their most recent energy bill; a list of all household members, including birth dates and Social Security numbers; proof of income for everyone in the household over 18 years old for the last 30 days, but the last 12 months is preferred; proof of citizenship or legal residency for each household member; 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).

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 benefit can be a combination of a portable air conditioner, fan and/or utility assistance. Utility assistance is applied to a customer’s utility bill or applied to central air conditioning repair costs.

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 Bridges Community Action Partnership to identify other opportunities for assistance.

For more information, contact Bridges Community Action Partnership at 937-404-9203. Additional information can also be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling (800) 282-0880.