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Cooling assistance program underway

PULASKI COUNTY — When temperatures and humidity soar, staying cool is not a luxury, but a necessity for health, safety and quality of life.
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Energy Assistance Program can help to provide that necessity for those who need it most.
From now through Friday, Aug. 15, local departments of social services throughout the state will accept cooling assistance applications for the VDSS Energy Assistance Program.
“Virginia’s intense summer heat and humidity can be dangerous, particularly for people in need,” said VDSS commissioner Anthony Conyers Jr. “This program can be of great assistance to those in a low-income household, especially children, the disabled, the elderly and others who may be vulnerable to heat.”
Assistance is available to households that include a child under age 6, a disabled individual, or an adult age 60 or older who meets income and eligibility requirements.
Cooling assistance can be used to assist families and individuals with:
•payment of electric bills up to $150 to operate cooling equipment;
•payment of security deposits for electricity to operate cooling equipment;
•repair of a central air-conditioning system or heat pump;
•purchase of a whole-house fan, including ceiling or attic fans; and
•purchase and installation of one window unit air conditioner for households without one or with one that needs to be replaced.
To qualify for cooling assistance, the maximum gross monthly income for a one person household is $1,127 before taxes and $2,297 for a household with four individuals.
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant.
The Cooling Assistance component of this grant served approximately 44,000 Virginia households last year.
In Pulaski County alone, approximately 600 households were served by the cooling assistance component last year, according to Carla Harris, public relations practitioner for the VDSS.
Harris explained that in Virginia, the LIHEAP grant provides funding for all energy assistance components, including cooling, as well as heating.
She said the amount of funding for the components varies each year, and the funding for each component, including cooling, is held in a statewide “pot” and is distributed throughout the state based on the number of qualifying applications received. Basically, services are provided to qualifying applicants on a “first-come, first-served basis” Harris said.
Families and individuals must apply at their local department of social services by Aug. 15, which is the deadline for applications.
A representative from the Pulaski County Department of Social Services noted that applicants may call in and have an application mailed to them, or they can stop by and pick one up at the DSS office.
To contact Pulaski County’s DSS, call 980-7995.
To learn more visit the web site at http://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/index.html.

Cooling assistance program underway

PULASKI COUNTY — When temperatures and humidity soar, staying cool is not a luxury, but a necessity for health, safety and quality of life.
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Energy Assistance Program can help to provide that necessity for those who need it most.
From now through Friday, Aug. 15, local departments of social services throughout the state will accept cooling assistance applications for the VDSS Energy Assistance Program.
“Virginia’s intense summer heat and humidity can be dangerous, particularly for people in need,” said VDSS commissioner Anthony Conyers Jr. “This program can be of great assistance to those in a low-income household, especially children, the disabled, the elderly and others who may be vulnerable to heat.”
Assistance is available to households that include a child under age 6, a disabled individual, or an adult age 60 or older who meets income and eligibility requirements.
Cooling assistance can be used to assist families and individuals with:
•payment of electric bills up to $150 to operate cooling equipment;
•payment of security deposits for electricity to operate cooling equipment;
•repair of a central air-conditioning system or heat pump;
•purchase of a whole-house fan, including ceiling or attic fans; and
•purchase and installation of one window unit air conditioner for households without one or with one that needs to be replaced.
To qualify for cooling assistance, the maximum gross monthly income for a one person household is $1,127 before taxes and $2,297 for a household with four individuals.
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant.
The Cooling Assistance component of this grant served approximately 44,000 Virginia households last year.
In Pulaski County alone, approximately 600 households were served by the cooling assistance component last year, according to Carla Harris, public relations practitioner for the VDSS.
Harris explained that in Virginia, the LIHEAP grant provides funding for all energy assistance components, including cooling, as well as heating.
She said the amount of funding for the components varies each year, and the funding for each component, including cooling, is held in a statewide “pot” and is distributed throughout the state based on the number of qualifying applications received. Basically, services are provided to qualifying applicants on a “first-come, first-served basis” Harris said.
Families and individuals must apply at their local department of social services by Aug. 15, which is the deadline for applications.
A representative from the Pulaski County Department of Social Services noted that applicants may call in and have an application mailed to them, or they can stop by and pick one up at the DSS office.
To contact Pulaski County’s DSS, call 980-7995.
To learn more visit the web site at http://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/index.html.