OCAP offers cooling help

Published 11:59 pm Monday, June 8, 2009

An estimated 550 households in Covington County have the opportunity to receive summer cooling assistance through the Organized Community Action Program, and residents are urged to apply now.

Elizabeth Seay, OCAP director, said “well over 300” are on the still on the waiting list from the winter months and will receive assistance first.

“But that still leaves plenty of spots open,” Seay said. “I have to stress that those people already on the waiting list will be served first, but we do have funding to help more families.”

Funded through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), the program offers heating assistance in the winter and cooling assistance in the summer. And while the amount of help is based upon a family’s total income, families often receive enough money to cover their cooling bills for several months.

The program will begin Mon., June 15.

“It’s tough for people to ask for help,” she said. “They have to lower their pride, but sometimes we all need a little help. It might benefit them when the cooling bills are so, so high.

“People need to remember assistance is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and families must meet income guidelines,” she said. “So, the sooner they request assistance, the better the chances are.”

Seay said income limits are higher than in years past.

“If you’ve applied in the past and were turned down because of income, you may want to reapply,” she said.

Additionally, Seay said those receiving unemployment benefits or partial unemployment benefits could qualify for funding under another program.

Appointments are required and applicants must bring paper copies of the following documents with them when they come in to apply:

proof of income for all household members from the prior month. This could be bank statements or check stubs.

a current, unpaid cooling bill.

a Social Security card for each member of the household.

The OCAP office is located in the Covington County administration building in Andalusia on Hillcrest Drive. Call 428-2660 to make an appointment.