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Ohio HeatShare heating bill assistance program.

One time cash assistance from the HeatShare program can help qualified low income families in Ohio with paying their heating bills. The Salvation Army accepts applications and administers funding for it, and the utility providers that participate are Duke Energy, Columbia Gas, and maybe a couple others. HeatShare depends on donations from the community, companies, and non-profits, so the scope of it will change from year to year.

As noted, the entire HeatShare program and the intake process is run by the Salvation Army through centers across the state. Eligibility for any type of financial support is based on factors such as need and doesn’t necessarily follow federal government or state of Ohio assistance guidelines.

However, note that when you apply for help an applicant must be subject to disconnection of their heating service in order to qualify. The enrollment period may slightly change from year to year, but eligible customers may apply for a one assistance beginning in December up through early May or so. All applications are processed on first come and served, so support is only available until all funds and donations are paid out.

When funds are available, the Salvation Army will pay out at most $250 for heating bills. The applicant also needs to meet certain government low income guidelines. In addition, there needs to be some form of unexpected financial hardship being faced by the customer. Most of the aid is provided for Duke Energy customers, and they created it. However other companies such as Columbia Gas may participate as well.

These fuel fund programs combine contributions from employees, customers and shareholders. Much of the money that is raised is combined with company donations to assist low income, payment-troubled customers who are out of options and have exhausted all other forms of financial help. Aid from HeatShare may also be for those Ohio families with a one time special hardship. Eligibility for any type of HeatShare assistance is determined, in part, by household income.

It was created to assist those in need of help with paying their heating bills (whether gas, electric, propane, etc.) during the winter season. Eligibility for any type of financial support is based upon need and doesn't necessarily follow federal government or state of Ohio assistance guidelines. So this means that in some cases more moderate income residents may receive support. An individual that resides in Ohio must be subject to disconnection of their utility service in order to qualify.





To apply for support, call the Salvation Army. Or for more information, call Duke Energy at 1-800-544-6900. On the other hand, in order to make a donation to the less fortunate, seniors, and others, just add an amount to your monthly bill or call the company to make a one time contribution. The contributions someone makes will be tax deductible and all money is forwarded to The Salvation Army for distribution to those in need of support.

Many local community action agencies are also very knowledgeable about the program and they can also guide people to it. For example, if you live in Lucas County, call the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo Inc. (EOPA) at 866-504-7392. Additional contact information for HeatShare is available in Wood, Seneca, Ottawa and Sandusky counties. In these cases, call the WSOS Community Action Commission Inc., at 419-334-8911 or feel free to dial Columbia Customer Contact Center at 1-800-344-4077. Or these non-profit agencies can offer referrals to a host of other resources.


By Jon McNamara

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