Winter heating assistance is available

Winter heating assistance is available

The Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action Commission’s Emergency HEAP Winter Crisis Program began Nov. 1. Winter Crisis Program is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency, Office of Community Assistance. It provides financial assistance to low-income households that are threatened with disconnection from their heating source or have already had service disconnected.

Those households serviced by a PUCO-regulated utility are encouraged to sign up for the Percentage of Income Payment Plus Plan or an alternate budget-payment plan. Eligible households include those in disconnect status or notice of disconnection or transferring or establishing new service.

Households utilizing bulk fuel must have a tank containing less than 25% of its capacity. Also this year, households that were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 12 months are eligible. Income documentation for all household members, Social Security numbers, electric and gas bills, photo ID, proof of U.S. citizenship/legal residency for all household members, proof of disability if disabled, and other documentation must be presented.

Income guidelines are based at 175% of the Federal Poverty Level. For a family of four, the annual income must be at or below $46,375. Income also may be calculated using the past 30 days, which for a family of four is at or below $3,811.64. Those wishing to enroll in PIPP Plus have a lower income-eligibility threshold. Approved applicants also will have their application automatically processed for the Regular HEAP program, where additional assistance may be available.

Eligible households may receive financial assistance once per heating season. The HEAP heating season runs through March 31. The benefit amounts are as follows:

PUCO-regulated gas or electric customers may receive a benefit of up to $175. Nonregulated electric or gas (co-ops) may receive a benefit amount up to $750. Income-eligible bulk fuel customers may receive up to $550 for wood or coal, and up to $900 is available for bulk fuel propane/bottled gas and fuel oil consumers. Assistance for furnace repair also is available up to $500.

To learn more or to apply, call the Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action Commission’s HEAP office at 330-674-6479. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the safety and well-being of community and staff, the application process must be started via phone only, no in-person applicants.