Tuesday night is a night to stay in and stay warm, but for some in our community, that isn't as easy as it sounds.
Many in Columbus are turning to the "Home Energy Assistance Program” or HEAP’s, Winter Crisis Program at IMPACT Community Action.
The Call Center at IMPACT Community Action stays busy. If you call, the person who answers the phone could be the one to help you keep your heat on.
That’s what happened to Donna Fahnbulleh. "I was at risk of getting my electric cut off,” she explains.
During that call, Fahnbulleh said she learned that she qualified for the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus, or PIPP. It is a payment arrangement where gas and electric companies accept payments based on a percentage of your household income.
"It's affordable,” said Fahnbulleh “I'm low-income and I can afford to pay my electric bill without worrying about my electricity getting cut off."
"We see about 40 walk ins and we see about 100 appointments a day,” Regina Clemons, IMPACTS Director of Emergency Assistance, “So we see about 150 people a day."
Regina Clemons, IMPACTS Director of Emergency Assistance, says in addition to PIPP they also offer one time payments of up to $175 toward a utility bill if your service is in jeopardy of being disconnected.
Clemons says the services reach many of who, would consider, the working poor. "It catches those families that are in between, those single mothers with children who are working a job that is nine or 10 dollars an hour and it's just not quite enough to stretch.”
Its a basic need that leaves clients thankful. "I'm grateful, I thank God for it,” adds Fahnbulleh “Yes, I do."
The Winter Crisis Program (WCP) at IMPACT, which runs from November 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 provides a one-time payment up to $175 for utility service for income-eligible households in Columbus and Franklin County who are at or below 175% of the federal poverty guideline.
Super Saturday is a customer-focused event to provide additional access to the Winter Crisis Program. There will be a Super Saturday event this Saturday, February 21, 8 A.M. – 3 P.M.