State program helps qualifying families during cooling-related crisis

Posted at 11:44 AM on Jul 5, 2019

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Special to SVLfreenews.com

RALEIGH -- Funding is available to help North Carolinians in crisis pay utility bills or secure fuel or cooling resources.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' Crisis Intervention Program provides assistance to qualifying low-income households who are experiencing a cooling-related crisis (or heating-related crisis in the winter). Applications are available through county departments of social services.

“This program is designed to help alleviate cooling emergencies during the summer months and heating emergencies during the winter months,” said David Locklear, deputy director of Economic and Family Services in the Division of Social Services. “The state is experiencing extreme temperatures, and this assistance can help keep families safe and healthy.”

A household is in a crisis if it is experiencing or is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency and sufficient, timely and appropriate assistance is not available from any other source. A life-threatening emergency is defined as a household which has no heating or cooling source or has a disconnect notice for primary heating or cooling service, and the health or well-being of a household member would be in danger if the heating or cooling crisis was not alleviated.

The Crisis Intervention Program is funded federally by the Administration for Children and Families. The funds are distributed through county departments of social services directly to the vendor or utility.

During state fiscal year 2018-2019, county departments of social services helped 106,253 North Carolina households experiencing a crisis by assisting with utility bills or securing fuel or cooling resources.

Applications may be made at county departments of social services offices through June 30, 2020, while the funds are available. Households are individually evaluated by county departments of social services staff to determine whether there is a heating or cooling crisis. Benefits for families may vary, depending on the amount needed to alleviate the crisis.

To be eligible, a household must have at least one person who meets certain criteria, including being income eligible, and have a heating or cooling related emergency. Full eligibility details are available online at www.ncdhhs.gov/crisis-intervention-program

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