Division of Senior and Adult Services Updates
DSAS Can Help with Benefits, Utilities and More
DSAS’ Information Services unit is available year-round to help adults over 60 and adult with disabilities 18-59 with benefits check-ups, utility assistance, information, referrals and so much more. Since 2015, the Information Services unit has provided more than $4 million in cost-savings benefits to DSAS clients.
One way we assist is by helping older adults keep the power on. Right now, we are working with Ohio’s 2021 Home Energy Assistance Program’s (HEAP) Summer Crisis Program (SCP) to provide eligible households with a one-time benefit to assist with electric utility bills, central air conditioning repairs, and air conditioning unit and/or fan purchases. The maximum benefit amounts for the 2021 program are: $500 for customers of regulated utilities and $800 for customers of unregulated utilities (municipal utilities or cooperatives). This program runs through Sept. 30.
Household income must be at or below 175% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and households must have at least one additional eligibility criteria listed below:
- A household member who is age 60 or older
- A household member has a documented medical condition verified by a licensed medical professional who is qualified under Ohio law to write prescriptions
- A household member that was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 12 months may provide a written statement as proof of medical diagnosis.
- A household’s electric utility has a disconnect notice, has been shut off, or new electric service is being established for the household.
As an additional benefit, households may also receive an air conditioning unit and/or fan or central air conditioning repairs, if the household can maintain electric service for 30 days. Households may receive the maximum utility assistance benefit towards their electric bill and still receive the additional benefit (i.e., central air conditioner repair, air conditioner unit, and/or fan). Air conditioning units and/or fans will only be provided to eligible customers who have not received one in the last three years.
Call our Information Services unit at 216-420-6700 to find out how we can help you!
DSAS’ Options Program is Expanding
The Division of Senior and Adult Services recently went before the County Council to amend our contract with our partners who provide services through our Options for Independent Living Program. We expanded the program by $800,000 through December of 2021 to allow for more seniors to be served by the program. Twenty of our contracted partners received additional funding to serve more clients with services like home-making, meal delivery, personal care, and medical transport.
The Options program served 2,000 people in 2020, an increase from the 1,700 individuals served the year before. Every year, the program grows, as more and more County residents reach the age of 60 and desire services to help them remain independent in their homes. Do you know someone who could benefit from a little help to stay safe at home? Call us today to learn more about the Options for Independent Living Program.
In June, DSAS hosted a variety of events to spread awareness about elder abuse and what you can do to stop it. Our landmark Terminal Tower was decked out in purple – the color for elder abuse awareness — and DSAS Administrator Tracey Mason talked to Channel 5’s Good Morning Cleveland team about the importance of knowing the signs and calling DSAS at 216-420-6700 if you are concerned about the safety of an older adult. Watch the story here. DSAS Deputy Director Natasha Pietrocola wrote a blog about how it is more important than ever to be vigilant about elder abuse. We mailed “See it. Stop it. Report it.” posters to our community partners for display at their facilities.
DSAS also hosted an informative Facebook webinar on a program we launched last year with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Geriatric Medicine. It’s a new Geriatric Tele-Assessment that brings Cleveland Clinic Geriatricians into the homes of DSAS’ Adult Protective Services clients for in-depth behavioral assessments that help DSAS provide the highest level of care for clients. To learn more about this program, watch the webinar here.
Please remember – See it, Stop it, Report it. Call DSAS at 216-420-6700 any time of day if you have a concern about the safety of an older adult.
Save the Date for the first Northeast Ohio Aging & Disability Summit
DSAS is thrilled to announce the inaugural Northeast Ohio Aging and Disability Summit! The Summit is being presented by DSAS in partnership with The MetroHealth System and the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging. This Summit, which is open to aging professionals, caregivers and older adults across northeast Ohio, will take place virtually on Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year’s theme — Building Connections. Stronger Together – underscores the partnerships of the three presenting agencies and dozens of community partners across northeast Ohio, who work tirelessly to address the needs of our older residents and adults with disabilities.
This year’s program is packed with national and local experts speaking on topics such as diversity and inclusion, assistive technology, aging and public policy, gerontological research and workforce opportunities. Keynote speakers scheduled to appear include: Rita Choula, Director of Caregiving, AARP Public Policy Institute; Robert Blancato, Executive Director, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs; and Marc Freedman, CEO and Founder, of Encore.org.
Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities are available. Registration information will be forthcoming. For details, contact DSAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need Emergency Assistance? We Have It
Have you suffered a hardship and need a little assistance? DSAS’ Emergency Assistance Program can help. Eligible households can receive a one-time benefit to assist with utility bills, housing or moving expenses, food and basic necessities. Up to $500 in emergency assistance available.
The household must meet income requirements, along with the following eligibility criteria:
- Cuyahoga County adult age 60 or older, or age 18–59 with a disability
- A hardship impacting income (illness, unemployment, death expenses for a loved one, etc.)
- Must become a DSAS client to receive the benefit
It’s easy to get started. Simply gather your documents (income or unemployment verification, proof of illness, receipts, etc.) and call DSAS at 216-420-6700. We’ll establish you as a client and help you apply for the benefit.
We also have an Emergency Food Pantry to assist clients with food security. Call today.
2020 Health and Human Service Overview
Every year, the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) publishes an overview of its progress and initiatives in serving our residents. The Department’s 2020 Overview takes a look at the many ways the agency’s eight divisions shifted work methods to keep the focus on serving the County’s children, families, older adults and adults with disabilities in need while responding to COVID-19 protocols to keep both residents and employees safe.
The 2020 Overview highlights accomplishments from DSAS and our sister agencies:
- Division of Children and Families
- Cuyahoga Job and Family Services
- Office of Child Support Services
- Office of Early Childhood (Invest in Children)
- Office of Homeless Services
- Office of Reentry Services
- HHS Administration
For information on all DHHS’ programs and services, visit hhs.cuyahogacounty.us.
A message from the DSAS Administrator
As many of us have begun to fire up our barbeque grills, dust off our swimwear and start summer time travel plans, I am reminded of how far we have come since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As more of us have been vaccinated, we are starting to see the lifting of masks mandates, re-opening of our favorite restaurants, visiting with friends and family and attending live gatherings. As we begin to return to our pre-pandemic lives, I remain incredibly grateful for the support, hard work and dedication of our staff and the trust and patience of our clients and their families. We have risen to the occasion together.
I encourage us all to remain diligent in our efforts to keep the virus at bay by getting vaccinated (if it’s right for you), and continuing the safety, proper social distancing and hand-washing habits that helped us get to this point. We must be aware that many in our communities and around the globe are still suffering and hopefully will soon get relief.
Over this summer, you will see the DSAS team re-ignite our communications efforts to remind our community that we are here, and we remain committed to serving older adults and adults with disabilities who need us. You will also see us welcome some new providers of service and welcome others back, through our Options for Independent Living and Community Social Services Programs. Additionally, we will continue to support our senior centers and adult day care centers, as many of them re-open and re-start many of the programs and activities that our elders have missed.
As we have done throughout the pandemic period, our planning and other work will continue to be guided by the health and safety of our staff and clients and by maximizing the person-centered experience that our clients and community have come to value. Remember to call us at 216-420-6700 and let us know how we may serve you.
I wish you all a very pleasant, active and engaging summer.
All my best,
Tracey N. Mason, Administrator
Division of Senior and Adult Services