Winter Crisis Program Continues

posted 1/10/18 -- In the first two months of the Winter Crisis Program at Lorain County Community Action Agency, more than 1,200 people have been helped with their heating bills.

Help has included stopping disconnects, paying bills and lowering monthly payments to a manageable level for another year, said Community Services Specialist Cindy Hicks.

The Winter Crisis program began Nov. 1 and operates through March 31. To be eligible for help, residents must live at or below 175% of the federal poverty line. The crisis program provides one-time help to pay a bill or reconnect heat if needed. So far, 814 people have received bill payment assistance this season.

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan operates year round and lowers bills to a level more manageable for the working poor. Residents must be living at or below 150% of the federal poverty line to be eligible for PIPP. In November and December, 1,236 people qualified or re-qualified for PIPP. Some of those also received crisis assistance, Hicks said.

Residents who have received a disconnect notice are especially urged to call the HEAP hotline at 1-855-806-9620 to make an appointment. The automated line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hicks emphasized the importance of keeping appointments, especially if you have received a disconnect notice.

“When you make your first appointment and provide your account number, the utility company puts a hold on your disconnect until we can see you,” she said. “If you miss that appointment, we can’t stop them from turning off your heat.”

Hicks said the best strategy if an appointment is missed is to come to one of the HEAP offices as a walk-in as soon as possible.

LCCAA serves clients at three locations: the new office at 936 Broadway in downtown Lorain, our long-time office in the Wellington Village Hall, 115 Willard Memorial Square and a new satellite location at St Agnes Church, 611 Lake Ave., Elyria.

At the Lorain office, walk-in hours are Mondays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are available all day long as well. The Wellington Office sees walk-ins only in the morning and by appointment in the afternoon. Wellington is only open on Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the crisis period.

The Elyria office does not take walk-ins. Appointments are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All sites are closed for lunch daily from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

LCCAA's automated appointment line includes a recorded message describing the documents needed for the appointment. Those needing to do so may also speak to a representative during regular office hours.

The Winter Crisis Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency's Office of Community Assistance.