NEW PHILADELPHIA -- HARCATUS Tri-County Community Action Organization and Ohio Development Services Agency will help income-eligible Ohioans stay cool during the hot summer months. Through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program, eligible Ohioans can receive assistance paying an electric bill or assistance paying for central air conditioning repairs. The program runs through Aug. 31.
"July and August can be extremely hot in Ohio and that can take its toll on older Ohioans and Ohioans with breathing conditions. Together with HARCATUS, we want to reduce risk of heat related illnesses in our communities," said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency.
In 2014, more than 494 families in Harrison, Carroll and Tuscarawas counties were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program.
The Summer Crisis Program provides assistance to low-income households with an elderly 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, which affects more than 850,000 Ohioans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Eligible households can receive up to $250, if they are a customer of a regulated utility, or $300, if they are a customer of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, in assistance 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 $42,437.50.
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 HARCATUS to identify other opportunities for assistance.
For information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program locally, contact the HARCATUS Family Support toll-free crisis line at 1-855-806-9650. Additional information can also be found at www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or by calling toll-free at 800-282-0880.