DENNISON – The 2010-2011 HEAP Winter Crisis Program officially opened on November 1 and Community Action Agencies throughout Ohio will be assisting low-income households with their home heating bills and utility payment plans. Qualifying household gross income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, that are unchanged from last year. Income guidelines begin with a previous 12-month maximum of $21,660 for a one-person household. Add $7,480 for each additional household member.

HARCATUS Family Support Center Offices in Dennison, New Philadelphia, Carrollton and Cadiz will accept phone calls to schedule appointments at this time. Eligible households must have been either shut off, received a disconnect notice of their gas and/or electric bills, or heat with fuel oil, propane, coal or wood and have less than a 10-day supply. The HEAP Winter Crisis program ends March 31, 2011 and assistance may be provided only once per household during the winter heating season.

The Home Energy Assistance Program defines a household as: Persons who share a common kitchen or bath and pay for their home heat as a group. A boarder, guest, or paying guest is considered part of a household.

All applicants are required to provide documentation of total gross household income for either the three months or 12 months prior to the date of application, birth dates, Social Security numbers and proof of United States Citizenship or Alien Status. The most recent electric bill and proof of the heating emergency must be supplied. Written verification must be submitted for anyone living in the household who is claiming permanent and total disability.

Additional information can be provided by contacting the HARCATUS Family Support Centers at Dennison 740-922-3600; New Philadelphia 330-343-8770; Carrollton 330-627-4101; and Cadiz 740-942-8886; or by calling HEAP in Columbus at 1-800-282-0880. Office hours vary by site. Persons without an appointment will be seen only if time permits and only if he or she has the required documentation.

Federal funds for this program are made available to Ohio’s 52 Community Action Agencies through the state’s HEAP Office, administered by the Ohio Department of Development’s Community Development Division.