Cleveland, June 2024: As a heat advisory remains in effect for Northeast Ohio, Step Forward’s Energy Assistance Program is preparing to open applications for the Summer Cooling Program, which is scheduled to run July 1, 2024, through September 30, 2024.
The Summer Cooling Program assists income-eligible Cuyahoga County residents with payment of an electric bill or the purchase of a fan/air conditioning unit to help ease the burden caused by summer heat.
“Staying cool when summer temperatures swell isn’t just about comfort, it’s a matter of safety,” explained Jacqueline Boehnlein, Vice President of Community Services at Step Forward. ” The summer cooling program serves a dual purpose for residents experiencing a crisis; it helps them manage their energy bills and keeps their homes at a safe temperature during extreme heat.”
The program provides a benefit once per cooling season to Cuyahoga County residents who are at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (at or below $52,500 for a family of four) and meet at least one additional eligibility criteria:
• A household member who is age 60 or older
• A household member has a documented medical condition verified by a licensed medical professional who is qualified under Ohio law to write prescriptions
• Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP+) customers are eligible for assistance towards their default PIPP+ payment, first PIPP+ payment, central air conditioning repairs, or may receive an air conditioning unit and/or fan
• A household’s electric utility has a disconnect notice, has been shut off, needs transferred or new electric service is being established for the household
To apply for the program, residents must schedule a phone appointment online at Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Summer cooling assistance is limited, and an appointment is required to receive benefits. All appointments are conducted by phone.
Residents are encouraged to check regularly for new appointment openings, even if they receive a “no appointments are currently available” message. While demand for appointments is highest in July, new slots may become available due to added dates or cancellations. After scheduling an appointment, clients need to complete an online application through the Ohio Department of Development at
Please note that these appointments are only for residents experiencing an energy crisis. Clients applying for annual HEAP benefits or re-verifying for PIPP+ will not be served if they erroneously schedule an appointment.
For more information about the features of the Summer Crisis Program and step-by-step instructions about how to apply, please visit