Only one month left to apply for cooling help

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Time is running out for Virginia's most vulnerable citizens to get help with their cooling needs. The State Department of Social Services is seeing an influx in applications for cooling services compared to this time last year. Program leaders say that's why you need to get your application in sooner rather than later.

On hot, humid days like today, those of us who have air conditioning are grateful for it. But for many people it's a luxury, not a necessity. That's not the case though for some residents, like seniors with health issues. Staying cool is a must for them and that's where the cooling assistance program can help.

The popular cooling assistance program is geared toward our state's most vulnerable citizens, the elderly, disabled and children. For many people in those categories staying cool is vital to staying healthy. That's the case for Church Hill resident Lorenzo Jackson.

"I have to stay cool because I'm suffering with cancer," said Lorenzo.

Run through the State Department of Social Services - the program can help folks pay their electric bills or can put money toward purchasing or repairing cooling equipment. Because of the economy more and more people need and are interested in help with cooling. A fact that's showing up in the number of applications pouring in.

"We are seeing an increase, but we still have a month to go in the application period," said Andrea Gregg, Energy Assistance Program Manager.

And there's still federal money left if you want to apply. The income requirements for this program are similar to those for food stamps. A one person household will have a monthly income of around $1,100. A family of four, around $2,400. If you think you are eligible and haven't already applied - act now.

"Our advice is always to apply gives you a chance to get your application in and know if you are going to be eligible or not, so you can kind of plan in terms of your household budget, that's always a good thing," said Gregg.

The deadline to apply for cooling assistance is Monday August 17. Those who receive benefits could get up to $475 of help toward cooling per household. You can pick up an application from your local Department of Social Services.

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