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Step Forward prepares to open its Summer Cooling Program

Step Forward is proud to announce that as of July 1st, the agency’s Home Energy Assistance Program will once again accept applications for its Summer Cooling Program.


The Summer Cooling Program helps eligible Cuyahoga County residents with the payment of an electric bill or the purchase of a fan/air conditioning unit. It provides a benefit once per cooling season to residents who are at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines, have a disconnection notice, have been disconnected, are trying to establish new service on their electric bill, or have a household member over the age of 60 and/or with a documented medical condition.

Eligible households can receive up to $500 if they are a customer of a regulated utility, or $800 if they are a customer of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities. The assistance is applied to their utility bill, or to purchase an air conditioning unit or fan, or pay for central air conditioning repairs. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for assistance. For a family of four the annual income must be at or below $52,500.00.


Clients who are enrolling in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP+) for the first time or have a PIPP default are also eligible for the program.


“The Summer Cooling Program can have a transformative impact on households that struggle to stay cool during scorching temperatures,” Paul Billups, Step Forward’s Director of HEAP, said. “This program not only eases the burden of high energy costs, but it restores comfort, ensuring that families can find respite from the heat.”


In 2022, Step Forward distributed more than $430,000 in utility assistance payments through the Summer Cooling Program.


“Our agency stands ready to extend a helping hand to those in need,” Billups said. “We anticipate a surge of applicants for home energy assistance this year, including requests from those who may not have needed assistance in the past, due to rising energy costs. We reaffirm our commitment to providing support and relief to individuals and families striving to navigate the challenges of increasing energy expenses.”

The Summer Cooling Program will accept applications through September 30, 2023.


Residents with scheduled appointments should submit their documentation at least three days in advance of their appointment to receive assistance at the time of appointment. Documentation can be submitted to the Step Forward drop box at 2203 Superior Avenue, through the online scheduler linked above, emailed to Heapdocuments@stepforwardtoday.org, or submitted online at energyhelp.ohio.gov.


To find a list of required documentation, or to learn more about Step Forward's energy assistance programs, please visit https://www.stepforwardtoday.org/energy-assistance-programs.

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