The Council for Economic Opportunities will help eligible Cuyahoga County residents stay cool during the hot summer months through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program. The program provides income-eligible residents assistance paying an electric bill or assistance paying for central air conditioning repairs.

The program runs from July 1 until August 31, 2017.

In 2016, the Council for Economic Opportunities helped 980 households in Cuyahoga County through the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program.

“This program is vital to our community because too many individuals just do not have the financial resources to maintain their electric service and/or obtain cooling equipment on their own,” said Paul Billups, HEAP Manager at the Council for Economic Opportunities. “The small amount of help that we are able to offer often makes a huge difference in our customers’ lives.”

The Summer Crisis 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. Conditions can include lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or asthma.

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 assistance is 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 example, for a family of four, the annual income must be at or below $43,050, while for a family of two, the annual income must be at or below $28,420.

The program operates starting at 6:30 a.m. each weekday at the Council for Economic Opportunities’ HEAP Office at 1849 Prospect Avenue. To make an appointment, please call (216) 518-4014. In order to apply for emergency energy assistance, a resident over 60 must provide: income for primary applicant and all household members 18 years of age or older, Social Security Numbers for primary applicant and all household members, most recent electric and gas bills and proof of citizenship for all household members. An applicant with a medical issue must provide the same documentation in addition to proof of the medical condition (documentation signed by a licensed physician or registered nurse practitioner).

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 The Council for Economic Opportunities to identify other opportunities for assistance.

For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program, contact the Council for Economic Opportunities HEAP Office at (216) 518-4014 or click here.