Summer Crisis Program is Contactless

posted 7/15/20 -- COVID-19 has changed many things about Lorain County Community Action Agency’s Summer Crisis Program, including who is eligible.

Summer Crisis offers help staying cool for low-income residents who also meet one of the other eligibility requirements. The primary qualification for the program is a gross annual income at or below 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Line ($45,850 for a family of four in 2020).

Typically, the summer program is for low-income people who are age 60 or over or who have a health issue worsened by extreme heat, said Client Services Supervisor Darnella Higginbotham. This year, eligibility has expanded to include those diagnosed with COVID-19 and those whose income was impacted by the many changes in the community due to the virus.

Residents at 175% of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for help if one of the following applies to them:

They are age 60 or older. They have a documented medical condition worsened by extreme heat. Their electric service has been disconnected or they have received a disconnect notice. They are trying to establish new service. They have been diagnosed with coronavirus in 2020. They are enrolling in PIPP Plus for the first time. They are an existing PIPP customer in default.

Benefits have also been expanded this year. Customers of regulated utilities can receive up to $500 in assistance (up from $300). Customers of unregulated utilities can receive up to $800 (up from $500).

Residents who have not received an air conditioner from LCCAA in the last three years can request a unit. The cost of the unit will be deducted from the amount of assistance they receive. The remainder can be applied to their energy bill if needed.

Electric box fans will also be distributed. Residents who have received air conditioners in the past three years may be eligible for a fan. Customers may also request repairs to their central air conditioning units up to $500.

COVID-19 has also changed the way LCCAA is conducting the program, Higginbotham said. All appointments are being done by phone with zero contact between the LCCAA advocate and the client. A secure drop box is available at 936 Broadway Ave., Lorain for required documents. Documents can also be faxed to 440-245-3260. An electronic system is being used to minimize contact clients have when they pick up air conditioners or fans from Lowe’s in Elyria.

Appointments can be made by calling the new 24-hour number: 440-538-6999 or going online to

Higginbotham also noted that federal Coronavirus stimulus checks do NOT count as income for this program. For a complete list of countable income, please click here.

The program will run through Sept. 30 this year. It typically ends Aug. 31.