Low income families in Lake County Ohio who are struggling with paying their cooling and air conditioning bills have some options available to them. Painesville Ohio based Lifeline, Inc. runs a number of resources, including the Home Energy Assistance Program’s summer crisis service. The agency can provide financial assistance, fans, and/or air conditioners to qualified residents.
This program provides cash assistance and grants to qualified low income families, working poor and people faced with poverty. Most of the aid goes to people who spend a disproportionate amount of their total household income towards paying their utility bills.
Requests for information and applications for the federal government funded Home Energy Assistance Program have soared over the years, primarily due to the weak economy. Requests during the summer have also greatly increased, as many Ohio families are struggling with staying cool during the heat.
For example, staff from Lifeline Inc. are accepting almost 700 applications per year for the HEAP program. This is increasing roughly ten percent per year. While Lifeline is based in Painesville Ohio, they cover the entire Lake County region. Staff from the non-profit process applications for the utility bill assistance program. It is one of the primary resources that helps the low income and less fortunate with paying their air conditioning and cooling bills. Not only that the agency can also provide other aid, such as free fans and even air conditioner units. Over the most recent year LifeLine Inc. has also already distributed a number of fans and over 60 air conditioners that were allocated for the program.
The HEAP Summer Crisis Program provides financial assistance, grants, free fans, or AC units to low-income Lake County households. Some of the eligibility requirements include the applying household needs to have a household member who is 60 years or older. Or households can provide physician documentation that cooling bill assistance is needed for a household member’s health. For example, if someone is faced with a medical condition that could worsen if their utilities are shut off during the summer, then those individuals may qualify for financial assistance. The HEAP Summer Crisis Program does have income guidelines, so that is a consideration too.
The increased demand for assistance during the summer likely occurred due to the rough economy and the increased unemployment rate. Lifeline Inc. is also conducting outreach programs at senior citizen centers across Lake County in order to spread the word on the program.
To find out eligibility or to apply for assistance with cooling bills, free fans or air conditioners, call the Lifeline Energy Assistance Office at 440-350-9160 to speak to a representative.
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