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Ohioans Apply for Heating Bill Relief During Bitter Cold Winter

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- Requests for help from a state program designed to provide relief from energy bills have increased this winter due to colder-than-average temperatures.

Officials with the state's Development Services Agency (DSA) have beefed up their call center in order to keep up with residents' interest in the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which helps low-income Ohioans pay energy bills during winter and summer months.

To qualify for the HEAP, an applicant's annual household income must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline -- or $41,212 for a family of four.

The program is a necessity for many Ohioans, despite recent gains made in the state's job market, according to DSA Director David Goodman.

"We want to make sure that nobody is stuck without heat. It is going to be sub-zero this week, and that is life threatening," Goodman said.

Ohio officials have budgeted $145 million to operate HEAP's Summer and Winter Crisis Programs in 2014.

Anyone interested in applying for assistance through HEAP can click here, or call 1-800-282-0880, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
 
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