Satellite Offices Help HEAP Clients

posted 1/26/19 -- When Jeri Ciaechi heard LCCAA opened a HEAP office only ten minutes from her house, she reached for her phone instead of her Carhart and thermos.

Ciaechi had an appointment last Thursday at the new satellite office LCCAA opened in North Ridgeville on the campus of Lorain County Community College. The goal of satellite offices is to make getting help easier for clients, said Community Services Specialist Cindy Hicks.

Hicks and Ciaechi shared memories of clients lined up as early as 12 a.m., bundled in Carharts and other heavy winter gear holding thermoses of coffee or hot chocolate. Ciaechi said opening more offices to avoid those cold waits is “awesome” and “fantastic.”

Appointments can be made at the new and existing locations by calling 1-855-806-9620, 24 hours a day.

The North Ridgeville office, at LCCC’s campus at 32121 Lorain Road is open only on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins will be seen in the morning and appointments in the afternoon

Rebecca Diar said she appreciates the satellites because they are so much easier to get into. She will also drive to Wellington from Lorain because of that.

“This is an amazing thing that you guys opened more sites,” she said. “I live in Lorain but it was easy to get here. This is amazing. You guys go above and beyond to truly help people.”

Another new office at Ohio Means Jobs, 42495 North Ridge Road, Elyria, is open every other Friday – including February 1 – from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Customers should sign in at the reception desk and an advocate will call them. Walk-ins will be seen in the morning and appointments in the afternoon.

Like all LCCAA HEAP offices, the two new locations are closed for lunch from 12 to 1 p.m. daily. You must be seated with an advocate 45 minutes before closing in order to complete your application.

HEAP provides eligible individuals with financial assistance with their utility bills. To be eligible for HEAP you must live at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Line. HEAP benefits are applied to your utility account during the winter months. The Winter Crisis program operates between Nov. 1 and March 31 and also assists residents who have had their utilities turned off.

Both offices can also process applications and updates to the PIPP Plus Program. PIPP Plus customers must have a household income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line and be customers of a regulated utility. PIPP customers pay a percentage of their income to their utility companies at a consistent level year round.

LCCAA’s three existing locations continue to operate: the administrative office at 936 Broadway in downtown Lorain, in the Wellington Village Hall, 115 Willard Memorial Square and at St Agnes Church, 611 Lake Ave., Elyria.

At the Lorain office, walk-in hours are Monday 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 is open on Mondays and Tuesdays with an emphasis on walk-ins. Walk ins are received on Mondays from 8 to 11 a.m. and all day on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are only available on Monday afternoons from 1 to 4 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.

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.

Utility companies will hold your disconnect if you have made an appointment to determine your eligibility. However, your appointment must be no less than 48 hours before your disconnect is scheduled and you must keep your appointment to maintain that hold on your account. Rescheduling removes the hold and you may lose service.