Summer temperatures near 100 degrees, with “real feel” numbers even higher than that, are hard on everyone – but they’re even harder on those who can’t pay the bills in order to cool down their homes.

This week, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is accepting federal “crisis intervention” funds to be used to help.

The Crisis Intervention Program is a 100 percent federally funded service that’s meant to assist people and families who are experiencing “a heating or cooling related crisis.”

For the purposes of the program, a household is considered to be in “crisis” if its “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.”

Also, it could be a family at a residence with no cooling source – or, in winter months, heating source – that has a disconnect notice for the service and the health or well-being of a household member is threatened.

Guilford County Division of Social Services often helps families facing heat in a number of ways.  In some cases, fans or air conditioners are provided, while in other cases, past due utility bills are paid so that service won’t be cut off.

Each household will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if there’s a temperature-based crisis in that home.

The latest allocation of funds for the Crisis Intervention Program is just over $71,000.

If you and your family are facing this type of threat, you can check your eligibility for the program. Here are the criteria:

  • Have at least one US citizen or non-citizen who meets eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Have an energy related “crisis”
  • Have a utility statement that shows how much is owed to keep the service from being turned off or to be turned back on.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the acceptance of the funds – why wouldn’t they? – at the board’s Thursday, Aug. 3 meeting.

The funds will then go to the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services Division of Social Services to be used for county residents who need help.

The department pays the service provider directly in cases where the help is warranted and approved.