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DHHS offers cooling assistance, fans through LIHEAP

Summertime means vacations, swimming pools, barbeques and lots of other outdoor fun.

Unfortunately, extra sunshine also means extra heat. And that extra heat can cause serious health concerns.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, every summer, hundreds of Nebraska’s elderly and disabled succumb to heat-related emergencies.

DHHS is helping by providing fans and electric bill-payment assistance.

Britton Gabel, Low Income Home energy Assistance Program Manager, says bill-payment assistance is available for households that are at 130% or less of the federal poverty level and meet four criteria.

"They’re either active ADC recipients and have a child under the age of six or the client is 70 years or older or they have a medical condition that is aggravated by extreme heat as verified on a medical statement form we give to them to fill out. Or if they’ve received an air conditioner purchased from us in the last four years, we also continue to help them with cooling assistance.”

Gabel says the LIHEAP program has been in place since 1981. Last year, DHHS provided cooling assistance to more than 12,000 households.

To apply for assistance, the number is 1-800-383-4278.

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