Charlottesville and Albemarle County to Offer Relief from Heat

June 17, 2010

Aid is available to help Virginia’s low-income families and most vulnerable individuals stay safe in sweltering heat.

Through Monday, Aug. 16, local departments of social services throughout the commonwealth are accepting cooling assistance applications as part of the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Energy Assistance Program.

“We know that seasonal spikes in utility costs can cause a significant economic strain on vulnerable households,” VDSS Commissioner Martin Brown said. “For many Virginians, the repair of an air-conditioning unit or purchase of a ceiling fan, are out of reach without the cooling assistance supplement.”

Assistance is available to households that include a child under age 6, a disabled individual or an adult aged 60 or over who meet income and eligibility requirements.

Cooling assistance can be used to assist families and individuals with:

* payment of electric bills up to $100 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 a working one.

To qualify for cooling assistance, the maximum gross monthly income for a one-person household is $1,174 before taxes and $2,389 for a household of four. Assistance is available until funds are depleted.

The Energy Assistance Program is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program block grant. The cooling assistance component served nearly 70,000 Virginia households last year.

Charlottesville Spokesman, Ric Barrick tells CBS19 that the Herman Key Rec Center on Market street will open Monday, June 21 as a cooling center. The doors will be open to anyone seeking relief from the heat.

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