HEAP offers financial relief for heat costs

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Tara Eyerman from Grove City says her family has been coping with the heat by swimming and using fans. What she and her three sons need is an air conditioner.

“Waking up at night because theyre hot and uncomfortable. We’re all piled into one room with fans anyways with fans on us. Even with the fans it blows hot air on us anyways,” she said.

Tara visted the office of Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP looking for an A/C unit and help with her electric bill. The Home Energy Asstance Program or HEAP offers free window air conditioning units and up to $175 dollars in bill payment assistance to qualified low income residents and people with documented medical conditions.

“For me I take care of my kids by myself and I work and everything, but sometimes it’s overwhelming. For someone to help out when you need is great,” she said.

Gregory Temple is a retired charter bus driver from the West Side. To keep cool, he says he sleeps in a recliner near an air conditioning unit in his living room.

“It thumps when the air compressor kicks in and kicks out and it sounds like a freight train, but you get used to it,” he said.

Even though he is not eligible for a new air conditioner, Temple will have his electric bill paid for by HEAP. The federal government pays for the program; the Ohio Department of Development runs it. The program began June 1 and since then program director Collette Harrell says they’ve given away 1700 air conditioning.

Harrell says there has been an overall increase this year in people coming in for assistance. The recent heat surge caused an influx of people coming in especially those with medical conditions affected by the heat.

Harrell says residents are very appreciative of the program.

“We do see a lot of families come in. They’re happy. The children are happy. They’ve been sweltering. They’ve all been in one room trying to keep cool so we’ve seen people just be really appreciative of what we can do for them,” she said.

The program offers assistance until August 31.