Bauer: Heating help available

We have already endured some very cold days this winter. And if your heating bills haven’t gone up yet, they probably will very soon.

Some people may be having trouble paying those higher bills. But there is some help available for those in Clark County who qualify. It’s a service of the Opportunities Industrialization Center of Clark County.

The Regular Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps low-income families with a one-time payment to their primary heating vendor. Applications are available at any county building or social service agency, such as libraries, the post office or Department of Job and Family Services. That program runs through March 31.

Then there is the Emergency HEAP, which also continues through March 31. To qualify, households must already have a shut-off notice or have been shut off from service. Bulk fuel customers (coal, wood, fuel oil, kerosene, propane) must have a 10-day or less supply. Income-eligible households will receive a one-time payment that guarantees service for 30 days.

The total household income guidelines have been increased for this year, and local HEAP Coordinator Judy Wilson says they can now serve a lot more people. She points out that, along with the economy, has produced a trend of “more new clients in recent years.”

The people her office serves run “the whole gamut, the working, non-working and those on assistance.”

The income guidelines for each program range from a single-person household with a maximum total of $22,340 a year, to a house of eight with a maximum total of $77, 780. For those with more than eight persons, add $7920 per person.

You must call the local HEAP Office at (937)325-8366 for an appointment. A walk-in time is available Monday-Friday at 3 p.m. The office is located at OIC Building, 10 S. Yellow Springs Street in Springfield.

The staff asks that you not be on the OIC property before 2:50 p.m. They will give 10 next available appointments to those without current service. Please bring proof that service is off.

All those applying for the programs must bring the following information to the appointment: Proof of income for everyone in the household who is at least 18 years of age for the past 13 weeks or past 3 months if you are paid monthly; Social Security cards and birth dates of all household members; most recent gas or electric utility bills; a picture I.D. for all adult household members; and if you claim zero income, you must bring proof of how you have been living the past 3 months (for example, a letter from someone helping you, a printout showing you receive food stamps or a Section 8/HUD letter, etc.).

Contact me at Darryl.Bauer@cmgohio.com or call 937-328-0341

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