The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

December 14, 2009

HEAP(s) of help ready for heat

When the wind blows and the snow falls, furnaces all across Ashtabula County start up.

The toasty warm air that floats up from heater vents costs big money, Rosemary Perkoski, associate director of the Ashtabula County Community Action Agency said, but help is available.

The Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) - Winter Crisis Program (WCP) will help even more Ashtabula County residents, Perkoski said, as the poverty income level for HEAP is now 200 percent of the national income poverty guidelines — up from 175 percent last year.

“The state saw a need to help more people this year,” Perkoski said, “and I say all you have to do is look at Ashtabula County to see that need.”

The WCP program provides a one-time payment per heating season for gas or electric utilities or toward the delivery of wood, propane, fuel oil or kerosene to households when a customer’s gas or electric service has been disconnected; a customer has received a final disconnect notice; or the customer has less than a 25 percent supply of bulk fuel.

Perkoski said a lot of new faces are applying to assistance at the Ashtabula County Community Action Agency in recent months.

“With unemployment skyrocketing, people who normally don’t need assistance now need our help. We are seeing a lot of new people, people who don’t know where to go to get the help they need,” she said.

Participation in the program is contingent upon income eligibility requirements, which is based on every working person in the household 18-years-old and older, she said.

Appointments are made with the Ashtabula County Job Source, 2247 Lake Ave.

The necessary documentation required for the application interview includes photo identification of the individual applying for the program; Social Security cards for each household member 2-years-old and older; a copy of each page of the current utility bill for both the gas and electric company showing the disconnect notice; the last payment receipt from the bulk fuel provider showing the address and account number; verification of income for every household member over the age of 18 for the past 90 days; if renting, provide the landlord’s name, address, phone number and monthly rent amount; proof of disability if permanently or totally disabled; and proof of co-payment, if necessary.

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