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Winter Heating Assistance

Heating Assistance
Photo by midorisyu

With the state economy languishing, many Ohioans will feel the strain of heating costs in the coming months. No matter what the economic situation, it is an inevitability that utility bills will increase in the wintertime. Thankfully, there is government assistance for those who would otherwise be unable to pay for the necessity of home heating.

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps our friends and neighbors in need to properly heat their households. The Ohio Department of Development, through its Office of Community Services, oversees this federally funded program. In order to alleviate the high costs of heating, HEAP provides homeowners with a benefit credit applied to their household’s energy bill. Those eligible may receive one benefit per heating season.

To qualify for a HEAP benefit, a household’s income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The monetary amount of a one-time HEAP credit is influenced by several factors, including the number of people living in your home, your total household income and the type of fuel used to heat your home.

A special feature of the HEAP is the Winter Crisis Program (WCP). This component provides emergency assistance to households whose heat is disconnected, threatened or who demonstrate to have less than a 10-day supply of fuel. The WCP is administered most often by your local Community Action Agency.

If you think you may qualify for a HEAP one-time benefit, there are many ways to apply. Applications are mailed to homes eligible for HEAP in the previous winter. Additionally, they are available at our local Community Action Agencies, libraries and Cuyahoga County Employment and Family Services. You may also call HEAP toll free at (800) 282-0880 to obtain an application or for further information regarding their programs.

Proper home heating is an absolute necessity in the harsh winter months. Living without home heating compromises the health and well-being of each individual. I encourage you to spread the word about HEAP so that all those eligible may receive the benefits they need.

 

Photo by midorisyu