MYCAP announces energy-assistance programs for area residents in need

Are you without heat/natural gas, electric, or bulk fuel? Don’t worry, the Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership (MYCAP) may be able to help you.

Through March 31, 2013, programs are in place to help individuals and families who currently do not have any electric or gas service, or they have been notified there will be a disconnection of these services. Also, individuals and families who use bulk fuel are eligible.

“We presently have sufficient funds in place to help people with these utilities, so they are able to stay warm during the cold-weather months, providing they meet the eligibility requirements that have been established by the state and federal government,” said Al Stabilito, director of the Center for Family & Economic Success at MYCAP.

“One of the most helpful programs we offer is the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program – available to help those who have trouble paying their gas and/or electric bills, their bulk fuel bill, had these services disconnected, or already received a cancellation notification that these services will be terminated soon,” Stabilito added.

MYCAP encourages residents who had their services disconnected to forego making an appointment and to come to the office as soon as possible between 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. any weekday. Bulk fuel users may also disregard scheduling an appointment and come to MYCAP either at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. during the week.

“In most cases, residents are asked to make an appointment so they can meet with one of the Customer Service Representatives to complete the necessary forms and paperwork. However, if a resident currently does not have any service, they should visit our office immediately so we are able to help them get these services re-activated promptly,” he added.

Other Mahoning County residents should call MYCAP to schedule an appointment. Appointments are scheduled between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each weekday.

Also, MYCAP has other energy assistance programs in place to assist eligible Mahoning County residents. These programs are possible because of various funding sources, including funds from the Office of Community Assistance, Ohio Development Services Agency.

The following programs, the telephone numbers and the requirements of each program are:

Emergency Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program  – (Nov. 1- March 31)

  • This program is for income eligible households who have had utility service terminated; face the threat of disconnection; or have less than a 25 percent supply of bulk fuel.
  • Potential applicants must call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system  toll free at 1-866-223-1125 to schedule a face to face appointment at the MYCAP office in Youngstown. This line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • A limited  number of walk-ins will be serviced daily beginning at 8 a.m. Walk-ins are for individuals whose service(s) have already been disconnected.
  • Bulk fuel users may also disregard scheduling an appointment and come to MYCAP either at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. during the weekday.
  • Every household must meet eligibility guidelines established by the federal government. For example, a single person in a household may gross up to $22,340 a year;  a family of  two may gross the amount of $30,260; a family of  three is $38,180; and a family of four is $46,100.  Households with more than four people should add $7,920 for each member.
  • Applicants must report the total household income for the past three months during the face to face screening.
  • Applicants must bring both their gas and electric bills; or their electric bill and verification of their bulk fuel dealer to the screening appointment.
  • Those whose electric service is off and being turned back on in their name at the same residence must pay the $35 reconnect fee prior to coming into the MYCAP Youngstown office and they must bring the receipt of payment.
  • Social Security cards must be presented for all household members.
  • Photo identification of all individuals age 18 and over in the household must be presented.
  • Disabled individuals must provide documentation of their disability.
  • A maximum one-time payment of up to $175 per heating season is allowed under the program guidelines. Bulk fuel households are eligible for up to $750. Customers using coal/wood are eligible for up to $350.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

  • This is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency and is designed to help eligible, low-income Ohioans with the high costs of home heating.
  • Potential applicants must call the Interactive Voice Response system  toll free at 1-866-223-1125 to schedule an appointment at the Youngstown MYCAP office.
  • Applications are available throughout the community, including MYCAP. Also, they are available by calling toll free at 1-800-282-0880.
  • People do not need to have a disconnection notice to apply.
  • The amount each household receives depends on federal funding levels, how many people live in a household, income of the household and the type of fuel used to heat the home.
  • Both homeowners and renters are eligible for assistance. However, there is a one-time credit applied to the energy bill or fuel vendor.

Two other programs to help residents with their bills are:

Percentage of Payment Plus (PIPP) (Year Round)

  • Potential applicants must call the Interactive Voice Response system toll free at 1-866-223-1125 to schedule an appointment at the Youngstown MYCAP office.
  • This is an extended payment arrangement that requires regulated gas and electric companies to accept payments based on a percentage of the household income.
  • If a person heats with gas they pay six percent of the gross monthly household income to the gas company and six percent to the electric company. If a person heats with electricity they pay 10 percent of the gross monthly household income.

Electric Partnership Program (EPP(Year Round)

  • This program is designed to improve the electric efficiency of low-income households who participate in PIPP Plus by performing in-home audits; focusing on refrigeration and lighting to lower electric usage.
  • Potential applicants must call 330-747-7921, ext. 1765 to schedule an assessment.

For more information about the energy assistance programs, call MYCAP Monday – Friday between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 330-747-7921, visit the office at 1325 Fifth Ave. in Youngstown or go to their website at http://www.my-cap.org.

© 2012 The Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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