January 19, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Community Action Council Helps Howard County
Households Pay Energy Bills
State’s Energy Assistance Grants Available to Help Low-income
Families Stay Safe This Winter
Columbia, MD —Maryland’s Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP), administered by the Department of Human Resources (DHR), oversees a crucial grant program that offers the average eligible household more than $1,000 per year to assist them in paying their heating and electric bills.
Annually, more than 6,000 households across Howard County enroll in the program. OHEP helps families replenish heating fuel in their home, keep their lights on, stay warm, and chip away at past-due electric bill arrearages. In many cases, an OHEP energy grant makes the difference for a family struggling to stay safe and warm.
This winter, households across Howard County will face unthinkable choices between heating their homes, paying for medical care, and meeting their basic living expenses. Many will forego heat and electricity on the coldest winter nights, opting to just “put on another sweater” in order to withstand their bills. Fortunately, Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC), and DHR have stepped up to heed the call for help.
“This program is critical during the cold winter months and CAC is proud to offer this necessary assistance for families struggling to pay their bills. These grants allow us to keep the County’s most vulnerable residents safer and stronger during their time of need. Any initiative which lessens the burden of a family trying to make ends has a positive impact on both the affected family and the larger community in general. We appreciate the support of OHEP and DHR, and we are proud to offer this program to Howard County residents,” said Bita Dayhoff, CAC President.
For Howard County residents, eligibility is based on household income for 30 days prior to the date of the application and the applicant does not need to be in an emergency situation. Residents can apply for benefits on an annual basis, with each grant year starting July 1 and concluding on June 30 of the following year. Households may apply at any time, and reapply once per year as needed. Applicants do not need to be behind on their bills in order to apply for help.
Eligible Howard County residents should schedule an appointment with Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) by calling (410) 313-6440. For full information on benefits and eligibility, please visit www.cac-hc.org.
Households can also apply online at dhr.maryland.gov/benefits.
Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) was created in 1965 as Howard County, Maryland’s designated anti-poverty agency. Our mission is to diminish poverty, enable self-sufficiency and advocate for low-income families and individuals. CAC provides services for more than 35,000 residents by running the Howard County Food Bank, administering a Head Start program for more than 300 pre-K children, offering energy/weatherization assistance and providing homelessness prevention programs. For more information about CAC, please visit www.cac-hc.org or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.