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Step Forward’s Summer Cooling Program to Close September 30th

Step Forward’s Summer Cooling Program, which assists eligible Cuyahoga County residents with payment of an electric bill or the purchase of a fan/air conditioning unit to help ease the burden caused by summer heat, is nearing its application deadline on September 30th.


“We want residents to understand, even with the temperature dropping as the season changes, there is still assistance available," explained Paul Billups, Step Forward’s Director of HEAP, said. "Summer's high temperatures can pose significant health risks, but unreliable access to electricity or, worse, no access at all, presents its own set of risks, particularly for our community's most vulnerable members."

Step Forward's HEAP building

Since applications opened in July, the program has distributed 328 fans, 281 air-conditioning units, and $111,894 in assistance funding.


To apply for the program, clients must schedule an appointment by calling (216) 350-8008 or online at stepforward.itfrontdesk.com. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Walk-ins are not accepted.


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.


Clients need to bring copies of the following documents to their appointment:


· Copies of their most recent energy bills

· A list of all household members and proof of income for the last 30 days or 12 months for each member

· Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members.

· Proof of disability (if applicable)

· Physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health (if there isn’t a household member over the age of 60)


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.


For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program and what is needed to apply, contact Step Forward at (216) 350-8008. To be connected to your local Energy Assistance provider visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov or call (800) 282-0880.


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