Thanks to a mild winter, vouchers for up to 700 free air conditioners may be available to low- and moderate-income families through the Lorain County Community Action Agency, according to interim President and CEO Jackie Boehnlein.
“It is exciting,” said Boehnlein about HEAP — the Home Energy Assistance Program’s Summer Crisis Program — which is funded by federal taxpayer dollars.
The agency already has distributed vouchers worth $250 to 325 families, she said.
It has 25 vouchers remaining and has applied for permission to distribute 350 more vouchers, she said.
The winter was so mild that leftover money from the heating assistance program was allocated to the cooling program, she said.
The vouchers are good for a $159 LG brand air conditioner from Home Depot and assistance paying electrical bills, Boehnlein said.
For the first time, those with disconnection notices are eligible, she said.
This year, LCCAA received $671,000 in funding for assistance with electric utility bills and air conditioners, she said.
That compares with $155,000 for 2011 summer season when the agency distributed 200 of the vouchers, she said.
Applicants are eligible if their household incomes are at or below 200 percent of the 2012-13 federal poverty guidelines and if they are seniors, have a disconnection notice or a documented medical condition such as asthma or lung disease.
A family of four making up to $46,100 qualifies for the program.
With this summer’s heat wave, the demand for the 6,000 BTU air conditioners has been high, said Juan Lopez, who coordinates the program for the agency.
“It’s overwhelming,” Lopez said.
Boehnlein said the agency received funding for two full-time temporary employees to process paperwork for the vouchers.
Among those who received the help was LCCAA board member Rhoda Lee, who represents the low-income sector and has a breathing problem. The relief is truly needed for those with medical problems, she said.
“On these hot days, it’s really bad,” she said.
COOLING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
- Family of 1: $22,340
- Family of 2: $30,260
- Family of 3: $38,180
- Family of 4: $46,100
- Family of 5: $54,020
- Family of 6: $61,940
*For households with more than six members, add $7,920 per member for 12 months.
- Seniors ages 60 and older.
- Households with a disconnection notice.
- Individuals with documentation of a chronic medical condition signed by a physician.
*Applicants must supply Social Security numbers for all household members.
WHERE TO APPLY
- Lorain County Community Action Agency, 404 Broadway, Lorain, (440) 245-1870
- LCCAA satellite office at Wellington Village Hall, 115 Willard Memorial Square, (440) 647-6410 *
- LCCAA satellite office at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Elyria, 330 Second St., (440)714-1452 *
- Those needing general information about the program may also call Ohio’s toll-free HEAP hotline at (800) 282-0880. The hearing impaired may dial (800) 686-1557 for assistance.
* Appointment lines, staff does not reply to general inquiries.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or email@example.com.