By Breck Hapner
March 13, 2014
The state announced that the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program will extend its application deadline from March 31 to April 15. The program provides assistance to eligible households that are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected or if their tank contains 35 percent or less of its capacity of bulk fuel.
“Our heating bills for these cold winter days will come due in March/early April. Extending the Winter Crisis Program allows Ohioans, who didn’t think they would need help, the opportunity to receive it,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency.
According to the Local Program Director, Kim Puckett, “Community Action has served 415 first time clients locally since the beginning of the Winter Crisis Program on Nov. 1. (This increase has come despite a reduction in the income guidelines this year.)” Heating in this extremely cold winter has been an increased challenge for everyone. Due to the massive propane shortage (and prices soaring from $2 per gallon to $5) many customers who have not previously sought assistance find themselves in need this year. Many propane users need more deliveries of propane than usual. Winter Crisis is available one time per heating season. Unfortunately, if someone has already sought Winter Crisis and HEAP assistance, there is no additional help with the extension.
Since the start of the program in November 2013, more than 116,000 Ohioans have participated in the program. To qualify for the Winter Crisis Program a household must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $41,212.50. Individuals interested in receiving assistance must have a face-to-face interview at their Winter Crisis Program provider. Contact Community Action at 740-369-3184 to inquire about eligibility and schedule an appointment.