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When this program is available

Step Forward will help income-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. The program is offered from July 1 to September 30 of the same calendar year.

This program provides a benefit once per cooling season to Cuyahoga County residents who are at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (at or below $52,500 for a family of four) and must meet at least one additional eligibility criteria listed below:

Who is eligible
  • A household member who is age 60 or older*

  • A household member has a documented medical condition verified by a licensed medical professional who is qualified under Ohio law to write prescriptions*

  • Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP) customers are eligible for assistance towards their default PIPP payment, first PIPP payment, central air conditioning repairs, or may receive an air conditioning unit and/or fan*

  • A household’s electric utility has a disconnect notice, has been shut off, needs transferred or new electric service is being established for the household

*Note: Clients who are currently on PIPP, are only eligible for a Summer Cooling Program monetary benefit if they have a default PIPP payment. PIPP customers who are current with their PIPP installments may ONLY receive an air conditioner and/or fan if they have not received one in the past three program years and are medically or age eligible.

Five Steps to getting Summer Cooling Assistance

1. Schedule a phone appointment online 

Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Step Forward conducts all appointments by phone.

Appointments fill up quickly, so please check regularly for openings due to daily updates and cancellations.

To schedule an appointment, cancel a scheduled appointment, or to reschedule, click here.

2. Complete an online application

Online applications are taken through the Ohio Department of Development’s Energy Assistance Programs portal. Step Forward employees have access to Cuyahoga County applications and all documents submitted with an application.

To apply:

  • Visit energyhelp.ohio.gov

  • Create a user account or log in to your existing user account

  • Complete an online application, including uploading required documentation

  • For the best service, complete the online application at least three days prior to your appointment

3. Keep your appointment by answering our scheduled call

Intake specialists will call the phone number you provided. If you don't answer, they will try a second time. If you miss both calls, your appointment will be marked as a "no show," and you will need to reschedule. If you miss your appointment, you must reschedule.

4. Within 10 days of a completed appointment, upload additional documents as requested

If your application requires additional documents to complete your eligibility screening, upload required documentation within 10 calendar days. Your intake specialist will specify information or documents needed and provide instructions on how to submit documents.

Note: After 10 calendar days, incomplete applications are suspended until September 30th when the Summer Cooling program ends. On or before September 30th, a suspended application may be reactivated by visiting our HEAP Courtesy Center at 4834 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128. All incomplete applications for the Summer Cooling program permanently close on October 1st as "unable to process."

5. Pick up your air conditioner and/or fan(s)

Your intake specialist will provide you with pick up instructions.

Suggestions for a Successful Phone Appointment
  • Enter your phone number in your application carefully and check your entry for accuracy. Transposed numbers, wrong numbers, and providing a phone number that is no longer in service will result in a missed appointment.

  • You will be asked for personal information during your appointment. To protect yourself, make proper arrangements for privacy.

  • Make proper arrangements for a quiet environment as excessive or loud background noise may prevent the appointment from being completed.

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