Cincinnati residents struggling to make ends meet can take advantage of assistance offered by organizations throughout the city. Nonprofit organizations establish programs to help the community with basic needs, including paying utility bills. Each organization sets its own requirements for eligibility. Generally, you must prove a hardship or emergency making it difficult for you to pay.
St. Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul of Cincinnati is a nonprofit organization providing personal assistance with utilities and other needs including food, clothing, medicine, housing and transportation. The society also offers support and companionship to people. The assistance program is designed to help community members facing a crisis, whether economic, emotional or spiritual. Clients apply by visiting the West End Outreach Center to submit a request form for assistance. If you qualify, an appointment is set to explore eligibility. Financial resources are limited.
Ohio Department of Development
The Ohio Department of Development's Office of Community Services administers the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). The plan requires electric companies to accept a percentage of your income instead of the entire balance owed. Customers who have both gas and electric must pay 10 percent of their monthly household income to the gas company and five percent to the electric company. If your monthly income is at or below 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), you can pay 3 percent instead of 5 percent for the secondary source of energy.
The Family Service Bureau of the Salvation Army lends support and offers emergency financial assistance to the community in times of need. The bureau assists with food, clothing, utilities, transportation, furniture, housing and employment. The HeatShare Energy Fund is a specific program offered on a seasonal basis. During the winter months, eligible households can receive help covering their heating and electric bills.
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati offers help to households in need by providing direct assistance or making referrals to other organizations. Callers can dial 2-1-1 to reach the information and referral hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents can also access local agencies by searching the United Way's database online. Search results are narrowed down by selecting the type of assistance you need. For instance, in Cincinnati temporary financial help is available through the Hamilton County Community Action Agency. Current contact information for local churches and agencies is supplied.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.