A new program to aid seniors with home repairs and utilities is coming to Hamilton County
Seniors within Hamilton County will be able to receive assistance through the new Senior Utility Assistance and Home Repair Program.
County residents ages 60 and up will be able to receive assistance for home repairs including the maintenance of ramps, railings and HVAC systems. They'll also be able to receive assistance paying their utility bills.
The pilot program was developed after commissioners heard from senior citizens who are not eligible for federal COVID-relief programs but needed help due to rising costs while on a fixed income. It will target seniors who are not eligible for other assistance by increasing the income limits for eligibility.
The $1 million pilot will use funds from the Senior Service Tax Levy. Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas says while utility assistance is available through several programs, a person making under $24,000 doesn't qualify for them due to existing federal guidelines.
"This program will serve older adults whose income is up to 300% of the poverty level," Dumas said. "For a person living alone, that's a maximum annual income of $40,770 and a couple is $54,930."
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio CEO Suzanne Burke says increasing the income threshold allows for many low-income seniors to receive relief.
"The pandemic has been incredibly difficult on seniors in everything from illness and COVID to just meeting basic needs, so this couldn't come at a better time," Burke said.
While the new program isn't federally funded, Burke says it wouldn't be possible without federal funds.
"We received additional federal funds; now, while they couldn't be used for certain things, we were able to utilize them to offset funding that would've been supplied for the levy for things like meals, so that has freed up the funding for this very important initiative," Burke said.
Below are the income requirements for home repairs and utility assistance:
- Hamilton County residents ages 60 and over
- Older adult or family member in household currently paying utility bill
- Ineligible for other assistance programs
- Household income of 300% of poverty level or below
- 1 person in household, annual income of $0-40,770
- 2 people in household, annual income of $0-54,930
- 3 people in household, annual income of $0-69,090
- 4 people in household, annual income of $0-83,250
Citizens with questions about the program can call the Council on Aging at 513-743-9000.