Friday, January 27, 2023

Play

A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

Play

Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

Play

"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Ohio's Winter Crisis Program Begins

Play

Tuesday, November 1, 2022   

Rising energy costs are nothing short of frightening for many Ohioans as cooler fall temperatures will soon settle in. But assistance is available for some of the most vulnerable. The cost to heat homes with electricity, natural gas, propane and heating oil is expected to reach its highest level in a decade, averaging about $1,200 for the season.

Paul Billups, director of energy assistance at Step Forward, an anti-poverty agency in Cuyahoga County, said they connect eligible Ohioans to the Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps pay heating bills.

"Clients who have never reached out for assistance before are starting to come in, and we know this because they are not in our database. So we're seeing an influx
of new clients who've been hit hard by the recession and now they are having to reach out," he said.

Ohio also has a Winter Crisis Program, which begins Nov. 1, and provides one-time assistance for eligible Ohioans who are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected from their utility service or have less than 25% of bulk fuel available.

Great Lakes Community Action Partnership Energy Assistance Manager Joyce McCauley-Benner said the Winter Crisis Program is crucial for people on limited incomes.

"This is a really important program, especially for those who don't have those regulated utilities, where you have the high-cost utilities," McCauley-Benner said. So propane, firewood, and in those non-regulated areas we really want to stress that there is help for you. Please come see us."

To qualify
for Home Energy Assistance Programs, income must be at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines. That's roughly $48,000 for a family of four. Billups said his agency has a great referral network for those who earn more.

"If for some reason we have to deny an applicant because they're over the income guidelines, we always give them all the information we have available at that time for other agencies that may be able to assist that may have a higher income threshold," Billups said.

McCauley-Benner also recommends that Ohioans check out the Percentage of Income Payment Plan, which can help manage energy bills year-round.

"It's based on your income and not based on your usage," she said. "If people are really concerned because they have limited income, we can screen them and see if they qualify for that payment plan because that will really help protect them for the rest of the winter."

Community Action Agencies throughout Ohio can help residents apply for energy assistance and other programs. Learn more at oacaa.org.


get more stories like this via email
New data show in California, 2021-22 state testing scores are even lower than the state's historically low testing scores. (Rawpixel/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…


Social Issues

Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …

Social Issues

A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …


From February 2020 to November 2021, the number of workers in nursing homes and other care facilities dropped by 410,000 nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…

In a national survey, Michigan was ranked 27th among the 50 states for its cost, access and quality of long-term care supports and services. California was ranked first. (Flickr)

Social Issues

In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…

Social Issues

By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …

Social Issues

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021