Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ohio HEAP and PIPP PLUS Utility Assistance Programs for 2012 - 2013

Looking for some help with paying for your heating bills this winter? Here are a few good programs to explore for the 2012 - 2013 winter heating season and beyond.

The HEAP Program, which provides a one-time credit on heating bills to eligible individuals, is taking applications between July 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013. In order for a household to be eligible for HEAP, the total household income has to be under 200% of the federal poverty level, based on the number of people living in the household. Click here for a current table of income limits. There are several options for completing your HEAP application. You may download or print a HEAP application by clicking here. Applications are also available at most libraries and other government buildings or by calling your local community action agency; click here to find the closest office. In addition, you can visit any Ohio Benefit Bank office to receive free help in completing your application. Click here to find the closest Ohio Benefit Bank office, or call 800-648-1176. Or, you can fill out your HEAP application online by clicking here. To check the status of your HEAP application after you have submitted it, click here, or call the HEAP Hotline at 1-800-282-0880.

The Winter Crisis (E-HEAP) program "provides assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected, threatened with disconnection, or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel." Applications for the Winter Crisis Program will be accepted November 1st through March 31st. For information on the Winter Crisis Program in Ohio, including eligibility requirements, click here or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday). To locate your local Emergency HEAP/Winter Crisis Program agency in Ohio, click here. Residents of Summit County should contact Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. at 330-376-7730.

The PIPP Plus Program has replaced the old Percentage of Income Payment Plan program (PIPP).   PIPP Plus seeks to provide an affordable payment option for gas and electric service to low-income households. The new program offers some significant improvements over the old one. For instance, under the traditional PIPP program, if a consumer owed $100 on their gas or electric bill for the month, they might have to pay only $10 to retain service and avoid a shutoff, but the unpaid $90 balance would accrue as debt with the utility company. Under the new PIPP Plus program, if the consumer pays their PIPP Plus amount on time, the remainder of the bill is forgiven permanently. There are also opportunities for households with existing overdue balances to gradually have those balances forgiven if they make their PIPP Plus payments on time each month for a period of months. For more information on PIPP Plus programs, click here, or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880 (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday). Returning PIPP Plus applicants must re-verify their income annually.

The Winter Reconnect Order helps those who are threatened with a gas or electric shutoff by allowing them to maintain service by making a $175 payment, regardless of the balance they owe. For more information, click here.

The Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP), helps with making your home as energy efficient as possible by providing things like insulation or furnace repair and replacement. To learn more and see if you qualify for HWAP, click here.

The Dominion East Ohio Energyshare Program serves senior citizens age 60 and over as well as younger customers who have received a termination or shutoff notice. For more information, click here, or call (800) 362-7557.

There are several Extended Payment Plans available to all residential electricity and natural gas customers regardless of income. 

The One-Third Plan (Winter Heating Season Plan) is available from November 1st through April 15th and requires customers to pay one-third of their total account balance each month.

The One-Sixth Plan requires customers to make six equal monthly payments on their past-due amounts, in addition to their monthly budget payment.

The One-Ninth Plan allows consumers to make nine equal monthly payments on their past-due amounts in addition to their monthly budget payment.

Click here for more information, or call (800) 686-PUCO (7826).

Utility assistance for military personnel and their families through the Patriot Plan can be accessed by clicking here or calling (800) 686-PUCO (7826).  Veterans can also request assistance with utility and other payments by contacting their local Veterans Service Commission.  Summit County residents can click here for more information.  To find offices in other Ohio counties, click here.

Individuals who reside in Summit County may also request utility assistance through the Salvation Army's social service helpline:  (330) 996-4255  Funds are limited.

Individuals who live, work, or worship in Hudson can also call 330-650-4048 ext. 463 to talk with the Community Resource Coordinator, who can direct you to other utility assistance resources in the Hudson area, such as the Hudson Ministerial Association benevolence fund and the Hudson office of the Salvation Army.

Source: Ohio Department of Development and PUCO/

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Help for those low on funds who need to prepare wills

From The Akron Beacon Journal, Friday, Septemeber 28, 2012:

If you’ve been thinking about preparing a will but haven’t gotten around to it due to your bleak financial picture, you may want to call the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) of Community Legal Aid.

“Its volunteer attorneys can provide assistance at an upcoming Will Clinic for low-income members of the community who wish to prepare simple wills, living wills, powers of attorney and power of attorney for health care,” said Ashley Heeney, director of development/communications at Community Legal Aid Services Inc. in Akron.

“The next Will Clinic in Summit County will be held the week of Oct. 15 during regular business hours in downtown Akron. This is not a walk-in clinic. Details about the date, time and location will be provided when you call the HelpLine at 1-800-998-9454 to register if Legal Aid determines you are eligible for the service.”

For more than 60 years, Community Legal Aid has been the primary provider of free, civil legal services to low-income residents in central Northeast Ohio.

To read the full article click here.

Sources:  Community Legal Aid, Akron Beacon Journal

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summit County Foreclosure Assistance Clinic

Attention Homeowners:

Help is Available to Save Your Home from Foreclosure

The County of Summit Office of Consumer Affairs and Veterans Service Commission urge homeowners from any county who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments or facing foreclosure to attend the Foreclosure Assistance Clinic which will be held on Thursday, August 30, 2012, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Representatives from Bank of America, Chase, GMAC, Huntington, New York Community Bank and Wells Fargo will be available to meet with their borrowers. The clinic is free, open to the public, and will be held at:

Veterans Service Commission
1060 East Waterloo Road, Akron, Ohio 44306

For those homeowners whose mortgages are not with one of the participating servicers or lenders, local housing counseling agencies will be available to offer assistance and see if they qualify for Ohio’s Restoring Stability program and its funding. In addition, residents can meet with a local credit counselor to discuss budgeting or debt management, or pick up pamphlets covering a wide variety of programs regarding veteran services, property taxes, weatherization, emergency notification, medical or legal help, consumer scams, and more. 

Future clinics are scheduled for September 20, and October 4. To find out which lenders will be in attendance at each clinic, please contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at (330) 643-2879.

Remember, you should never pay for assistance in saving your home. There is genuine help available, but you must reach out.

For more information on this or other types of consumer issues, please contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 330-643-2879 or visit our website at

Source:  Christine Gilley, Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Free School Supplies Giveaways - Akron Area Fall 2012

Norton Community Church of the Nazarene 
Wednesday, August 1st, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Free school supplies and gently used school clothing for students (grades 1-12) living in 44203 zip code.
1177 Norton Avenue, Norton, Ohio 44203

Cornerstone Church Back to School Giveaway (LEAP) 
Saturday, August 11th , 10:00 a.m.
School supplies, haircuts, health checks, lunch, inflatable attractions, and used clothing - all free!
Children must be present to receive school supplies.
578 Killian Road, Akron, Ohio 44319-2552

Copley Outreach Center School Supplies Giveaway 
Tuesday August 14th, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Free school supplies for qualifying students in Copley-Fairlawn School District.  Call to register.
1502 South Cleveland Massillon Road, Copley, Ohio 44321-1908

Summit for Kids Family Expo 
Saturday, August 18th, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
By bringing your child, you'll be giving him or her an entertaining and educational experience and helping to promote healthy development. Plans for the day include fun activities, free back-to-school items and other giveaways, special guests and much more. Admission is free.
John S. Knight Center
77 East Mill Street, Akron, Ohio 44308 (Bus: Mill and Broadway)

"I Know I Can" Back to School Drive & Community Resource Fair 
Saturday August 25th, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Free back packs and school supplies while they last, and free haircuts
Deon's Grooming Lounge
255 E. Tallmadge Ave, Akron Ohio

Emergency Assistance Center (Northern Summit County) 
Provides free school supplies for qualifying students in Aurora, Boston Heights, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, Northfield, Northfield Center, Peninsula, Reminderville, Sagamore Hills, Stow, and Twinsburg. Call for appointment/application.
10333 Northfield Road, Unit 74D, Northfield, Ohio 44067

St. Mary Church 
Provides free school supplies to qualifying families with low income in the Hudson City School District.
340 North Main St., Hudson Ohio 44236

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Low Cost Dental Services in the Akron Area

Are you uninsured or on Medicaid and looking for dental services in the Akron area?  More and more, scientists and doctors are learning that good dental care and hygeine are important not only for your teeth and gums, but for overall physical health as well.  The Mayo Clinic offers a good overview on the benefits of dental health here.  Don't let a lack of insurance or income keep you from maintaining or recovering your oral health.  Here are a few resources that may be helpful.

The Summit County Public Health department provides a number of services to adults and children.

Click here or call 330-812-3816 to learn more about services they offer. 

For a fee schedule detailing pricing for adult services, click here.

Looking for dental services for your preschooler?  Click here for a brochure.

Summa Center for Dental Health also offers many dental services, including implants, to those who are without insurance or who have low income.  Click here for more information, or call 330-375-6262.

Akron Community Health Resources Center offers dental services for adults and children as well in both Summit and Portage Counties.  Click here to learn more or call 330-724-5471.

In addition, some colleges and universities with dental schools offer some dental services at very reasonable rates.  Check with schools like Stark State and Cleveland Clinic to see if they have current openings at their dental clinics.

The Ohio Dental Options program is another good way to access dental services in our area.  Please click here to read more about the program and see if you qualify.

Need services in another county?  Here is a listing of safety net dental clinics for all of Ohio.

Here's to a healthy smile!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Help with Electric Bills Available for Summit County FirstEnergy Consumers

Summit County Executive Russ Pry announces that his Department of Community and Economic Development will be hosting a fuel fund assistance day for all income qualified FirstEnergy customers at the Job Center (1040E. Tallmadge Avenue, Akron, Ohio) beginning at 8 am on Thursday, June 14, 2012. Applicants will be given a number upon arrival. Only 200 numbers will be distributed on the date of intake. If you arrive after all 200 numbers have been distributed, you may call 330.643.2068 to obtain future fuel fund dates.

Eligibility is based on a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.  (To calculate, click here.)  Persons applying for fuel fund assistance must provide the following on the day of service: photo identification (driver’s license or other form of photo ID); social security card; most recent delinquent electric bill or termination notice; proof of a good faith payment within the past 90 days of the date in which the applicant applies for assistance.   Please note that a person is only eligible once every 12 months to receive the fuel fund assistance and we cannot apply payments to a deferred account balance.  HEAP and PIPP payments are not considered a good faith payment.

Source: Summit County Executive Russ Pry's Office

Monday, April 23, 2012

Free Legal Aid Clinic at the Job Center

Need civil legal advice, but can’t afford to hire a lawyer? On May 2, Akron area attorneys will be available to answer questions from Summit County residents about a variety of legal issues: family law, foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, child custody/visitation issues and end-of-life planning at a one-day clinic sponsored by Community Legal Aid and the Akron Bar Association.

Where: The Job Center, 1040 East Tallmadge Ave., Akron OH 44310 (Free Parking)
When: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Questions? Call Community Legal Aid at 1-877-401-0088 

Clients may begin arriving at 8:30 am to register. No pre-registration required – just drop in anytime throughout the day. Bring paperwork related to your legal concern with you.

Partnering agencies are: Akron Bar Association, Akron Urban League, AMHA, Community Legal Aid Volunteer Legal Services Program, Department of Jobs and Family Services, Haven of Rest, The Job Center, Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs, Open M and The University of Akron School of Law.

Source:  Community Legal Aid

Friday, March 30, 2012

Need Assistive Aids for Low Vision?

The Cleveland Sight Center will be bringing their traveling store to Laurel Lake Retirement Community on April 5th from 1-4pm.

200 Laurel Lake Drive
Hudson, Ohio   44236

For more information, call Mary Tatman at 330-655-1770. 
Traveling Store Flier

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Free Cervical Cancer Screenings for Women

Cervical Cancer Flyer

Monday, February 13, 2012

Need help filing your taxes? FREE help is available.

There are a number of reputable organizations in our area offering free tax preparation and filing assistance.

For county-wide programs, call the appropriate number below to learn more and see if you qualify.

Columbiana County residents (330) 332-1163
Mahoning County residents (330) 941-2507
Portage County residents (330) 297-4636
Stark County residents (330) 994-0850
Summit County residents (330) 861-6401
Wayne County residents (800) 961-0191

To receive tax preparation assistance in Summit County, residents must have an earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) of $49,078 or less during the 2011 tax year.

Remember to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if you are eligible.

• Families with three or more qualifying children who earned less than $43,998 (or less than $49,078 if married filing jointly) are eligible for a credit of up to $5,751.

• Families with two qualifying children who earned less than $40,964 (or less than $46,044 if married filing jointly) are eligible for a credit of up to $5,112.

• Families with one qualifying child who earned less than $36,052 (or less than $41,132 if married filing jointly) are eligible for a credit of up to $3,094.

• Individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 who do not have a qualifying child with an earned income of less than $13,660 (or less than $18,740 for married filing jointly) are eligible for a credit up to $464.

• Investment income must be $3,150 or less for the year.


IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs

AARP Tax Aide 

Ohio Benefit Bank