The Ohio Development Services Agency's Office of Community Assistance says it’s seeing a high volume of calls of people looking for help with the high costs of heat.
The Ohio Development Services Agency administers the Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP. HEAP is a federally funded program designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating. Since November 1, 2013, they say they have served 82,000 households statewide, and the extreme cold has increased the need.
Impact Community Action works to get HEAP assistance to those who need it in Columbus and Franklin County. Impact says the need this winter is far greater than last year and with more frigid temperatures on the way it expects to see the number of people in need soar.
Everyone who calls in, or visits, Impact Community Action represents a family in need.
Like one woman 1OTV met on Tuesday afternoon, who because of the sensitive nature of her story, asked not to be identified.
"I've put it off and put it off because I thought I could do it myself, but in reality I can't," she says.
The woman told 10TV she, and her family, lived in Upper Arlington until she lost her job and all of her savings.
"Having a good life and paying the bills doing everything that a citizen should do and it all came crumbling down on September 5, 2013."
One of the many stories, Impact’s Director of Emergency Assistance, Regina Clemons says she hears every day.
"We started our season November 1, and at the beginning of the season there were approximately 7,000 people without heating service or in jeopardy of disconnect,” said Regina Clemons.
Updated numbers aren't in yet, but Clemons says based on the calls that have come in the past month, that number has likely increased.
She says her office will continue to do all it can to help.
“It is very difficult at times,” says Clemons “We do the best that we can."
And that is all anyone in need asks for.
"I think all the resources out there that people can use they should take advantage of it and get the help they need to pay their utilities to keep their heat and their lights and their water on, says one client.
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Do you need help with assistance?
IMAPCT Community Action requires the following for consideration
-Valid Driver’s License/Photo I.D.
-Social Security Cards (or print outs) for everyone in your household, regardless of age
-Proof of household income for the past 90 days for everyone 18 years are older
-Currents gas and/or electric bills
-Copy of your lease, if your services are off and/or being transferred
Call 866.747.1038 to schedule appointments for HEAP and Central Intake
Office Hours are Mondays through Fridays 7:00am – 5:00pm
Super Saturdays are held twice a month for people who are unable to make appointments for Monday – Friday. The Super Saturdays are at IMPACT Community Action’s headquarters at 700 Bryden Road in Columbus from 10AM – 3PM. The next “Super Saturday” is February 8, 2013.