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Applications open for Step Forward's Summer Cooling Program

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Posted at 7:02 AM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 07:02:09-04

CLEVELAND — Applications are now open for Step Forward’s Summer Cooling Program.

The program is designed to help low-income households within Cuyahoga County. Eligible residents can apply for assistance to receive a payment on their electric bill to maintain their services, and they may also be eligible for an air conditioner or fan.

This year, Step Forward is expecting an increase in applications.

“Last summer, we processed over 1,700 applications and at least half of those households received either an air conditioner or a fan,” said Paul Billups, director of Energy Assistance Services at Step Forward. ”We're expecting that number to rise, especially with it being so early in the year now, and it's as hot as it has been. The temperatures really drive the clients to seek assistance for these programs because they're at home, and it's very hot.”

Households who qualify for the program include:

  • Those who are at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines
  • With a household member over the age of 60 and/or a household member with a documented medical condition, a disconnect notice, have been shut off, or are trying to establish new service on their electric bill or require air conditioning.
  • First-time Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP) enrollments or those have a PIPP default.

Applicants need to schedule an appointment for an interview with the Step Forward office by calling 216-350-8008 or submitting information online. They must also provide a number of documents at least three days prior to their appointment.

Billups also says that the organization doesn’t expect delays when it comes to delivering air conditioners or fans to eligible applicants.

“The vendors that we are working with now have made preparations. So they have pretty much assured us there shouldn't be any interruptions in the supply chain this year,” said Billups. “We've already anticipated what we expect to issue to clients for this summer program, and they have guaranteed to have available inventory throughout the duration.”

Applications for the Step Forward Summer Cooling Program are open through September 30, 2022.

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