Amid rising energy bills and sweltering heat, Crisis Intervention Program can help keep people cool

The CIP helps those experiencing a life-threatening crisis due to heat or even cold weather.
The CIP helps those experiencing a life-threatening crisis due to heat or even cold weather.(National Institute of Standards and Technology (MGN))
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:56 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The heat is on in Southeastern North Carolina with temperatures reaching into the upper 90s, and that means air conditioning is a must for many people. But it also means energy bills will likely be higher this time of year. For some, that’s a problem, and the high temperatures can not only be uncomfortable, but pose a risk to a person’s health.

On average, there are 702 heat-related deaths every year, which is why New Hanover County’s Department of Social Services is reminding people that if you have an emergency and are in danger of experiencing a health-related crisis, there is a program that can help: The Crisis Intervention Program. The program is federally funded to help people facing low or high temperature risks.

“The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a year-round program that assists people experiencing a heating or cooling crisis. A household is considered in crisis if it is currently experiencing, or is in danger of experiencing a life threatening or health related emergency and assistance is not available from another source,” according to New Hanover County Social Services.

In order to qualify, you must be in a life-threatening crisis, as is defined on the state’s Department of Health and Human Services website:

“Life threatening is defined as a household which has no heating or cooling source or has a disconnect notice for their primary heating or cooling service and the health or well being of a household member would be in danger if the heating or cooling crisis was not alleviate.”

If a home either has no air conditioning or is at risk of losing power due to non-payment, then the program may be able to help. The family or people living in a home must also be below 150% of the federal poverty level. DHHS provides a chart to help people understand what that means, but as an example, a family of four making $3,313 monthly is the upper threshold to qualify for the program.

A full list of eligibility requirements can be found below:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level
  • Have an energy related crisis
  • Have a utility statement that shows how much is owed to alleviate the crisis

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