A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Emergency aid available for summer utility bills

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Funding is now available to help North Carolinians in crisis pay summer utility bills or secure cooling resources. 

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Crisis Intervention Program provides assistance to qualified, low-income households who are experiencing a cooling-related crisis (or heating-related crisis in the winter).

“We know many families are currently facing additional financial hardships due to COVID-19, and this program is designed to bring aid to those in crisis to alleviate cooling or heating emergencies,” said David Locklear, deputy director of economic and family services in the Division of Social Services. “North Carolina is moving into its hottest months of the year, and we hope those eligible will take advantage of this program to help keep their families safe and healthy.”

A household is in a crisis if it’s 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 that has no heating or cooling source or has a past-due 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 energy programs application form is available for download at https://epass.nc.gov for applicants to print and mail, fax, scan or drop off at a Department of Social Services office after completion. 

Applications may also be made by calling the Nash County Department of Social Services at 252-459-9818. 

Households are individually evaluated by DSS 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.  

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 company. During state fiscal year 2019-20, county departments of social services helped 137,850 North Carolina households experiencing a crisis by assisting with utility bills or securing fuel or cooling resources.

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