Wayne County residents can apply for a program that assists individuals and families who are experiencing a cooling crisis.

“This program allows eligible households that are in a cooling- or heating-related emergency to apply for relief through federal funding," said Kimberly McGuire, Wayne County Department of Social Services director. "Our department is ready to assist those in a crisis to prevent health and safety impacts during the summer and winter months.”

The application process for the crisis intervention program began Monday even though the county has not yet received its allotment.

A household is considered to be in a crisis if it is currently experiencing or is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency and sufficient, timely and appropriate assistance is not available from any other source.

Life-threatening is defined as a household with no heating or cooling source or has a disconnect notice for its primary heating or cooling service and the health or well-being of a household member is in danger if the heating or cooling crisis is not alleviated.

For example, for a household of one to qualify, the maximum monthly countable income is $1,518, while for two in a household the limit is $2,058.

Last year in Wayne County 3,574 households applied. Statewide in 2017-18, county departments of social services helped 104,853 North Carolina households.

The money is distributed straight to the vendor, and the income requirements are based on federal income levels.

Households that meet the following criteria may be eligible:

• Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria.

• Meet the income test.

• Have an energy-related crisis.

• Have a utility statement that shows how much is owed to alleviate the crisis.

To apply, visit the Borden Building at 100 S. James St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Free parking is available on James Street across from the Borden Building.

Applicants should bring a valid ID, Social Security numbers for everyone in the household, electric utility disconnection or final notice (cutoff date must be within seven days of application date), and verification of all income received in the household (including SSI/SSA and child support.)

Applications will be taken through June 30, 2020, or until the allocation is exhausted.

For more information, contact the Wayne County Department of Social Services at 919-580-4034.