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Heating relief still available to residents

Lawrence County residents have until March 30 to ask for a little extra help paying their heating bills.

Friday, February 16, 2001

Lawrence County residents have until March 30 to ask for a little extra help paying their heating bills.

Gov. Bob Taft announced the creation of Project THAW in January – Temporary Heating Assistance for Warmth. The program provides one-time payments at a maximum of $250 for home heating to individuals and families who qualify based on income.

"The idea is to try to help offset increased costs of heating this winter," said Buddy Martin, director of the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services.

Departments across the state are administering Project THAW, accepting applications at the local offices – formerly the Department of Human Services – or mailing them out, Martin said.

Project THAW began Jan. 29 and will run through March 30, contingent upon funding.

Families and individuals with household gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for assistance.

For a family of four, the income limit is $34,100 annually or $2,842 monthly. The family or individual must be responsible for their own heating costs in a home or rental unit.

Eligible households on a budget plan with their primary heating company will receive assistance for 50 percent of their current primary heating bill and 50 percent of any unpaid balances back to Dec. 1, 2000, up to a maximum of $250 in a one-time payment.

Eligible households whose primary heating source is heating oil, propane, coal or wood are eligible for payment of 50 percent of their current bill or, in the case of heating oil or propane, the cost to fill their tank, up to a maximum of $250.

Those eligible must:

– Complete an application at the Department of Job and Family Services or mail it. No face-to-face interview is required.

– Provide a current utility bill or statement from a bulk fuel supplier indicating the cost to fill your tank.

– Provide verification of income for the last 30 days, or a W-2 form, or statements of unearned income.

Martin said the program serves as a supplement to other programs, like HEAP, which help only in certain circumstances. It also provides a helping hand after such a hard winter.

Some people have already reported gas bills around $600 during one of the colder months, he said.

"And even though we’re on the verge of spring, it won’t feel like it this weekend," Martin said.

For more information, contact the department at 532-3324.