FAQs-FORECLOSURE PREVENTION
FAQs-TAX PREPARATION
FAQs-UTILITY ASSISTANCE


FAQs-FORECLOSURE PREVENTION

Are you offering the same services as the attorney offices that have contacted me?
Be wary of anyone asking for money to assist you in saving your home. Please let us know if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam. CHN’s Foreclosure Prevention Program is completely FREE and confidential. If you’d like more information about how we can help you, please call our offices.

However, foreclosure is a judicial process and we encourage you to contact a reputable attorney to review your options. You can contact the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland or the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association for further information.

Is it ever too late for Foreclosure Prevention assistance?
At CHN we understand that everyone has a unique situation and we’ll do what we can to help you stay in your home. So whether you just received your court papers, or you already have a sheriff sale notice, we can help you.

I have received foreclosure papers from the court; do I have to leave my home?
No. You must receive a formal eviction notice before you have to leave your home. It is important to stay in your home until this happens. If you have received papers from the court and need foreclosure prevention assistance please contact our offices.

I have attended an intake session and submitted all the necessary documents; When should I expect to be contacted by a housing counselor?
Please allow two to three weeks from the date of your intake session for a housing counselor to contact you. CHN conducts a very thorough assessment of your financial situation which takes some time to prepare. If you have a timely situation such as sheriff sales, court dates or getting required documents back to your lender, please inform the housing counselors at your intake session. You may also call our offices anytime to check the status of your application.

Is CHN the same as Save the Dream?
No. Save the Dream and CHN are separate organizations. When you send your information it is forwarded to CHN’s Foreclosure Prevention Program and our housing counselors contact you to begin the foreclosure prevention process.

What could CHN do that I can’t do myself?
CHN’s Foreclosure Prevention Program has helped 79% of families who complete the program avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes. Our successful record has allowed us to build strong relationships with the courts and lenders. We have access to different types of funding you may not be able to access on your own.


FAQS – TAX PREPARATION

Am I eligible for CHN’s tax prep services?
Our free tax preparation program typically targets individuals and families that qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or who are considered low- or moderate-income.
Will I get my refund faster if I go to a paid preparer?
No. Whether your taxes are filed by a paid preparer or a volunteer preparer, they are still based on the same electronic filing schedule as issued by the IRS.

What separates CHN from other advertised services and paid preparers?
Through CHN, you can avoid costly tax preparation fees and the “early refund fee” charged by tax preparers. CHN provides quality tax preparation services free of charge. Each tax preparer is certified through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) program.

Do you accept walk-ins?
We accept walk-ins at our Super Refund Saturday event (one time per year), but you must schedule an appointment any other time of year. Call our Community Training Center at 216-881-8443 to schedule an appointment.

I have already scheduled my tax appointment, what should I bring?
Please remember to bring all of the following documents to your tax appointment:
  • W-2 forms
  • 1099 forms (interest, earnings as an independent contractor)
  • Unemployment form (if you received unemployment compensation)
  • Proof of childcare payments
  • Social security card for everyone on the return
  • Other IRS forms as appropriate
  • Last year’s tax return (if available)
  • Bank account and routing number for direct deposit (if applicable)
How long will it take to prepare my taxes?
The average tax preparation time is 15 minutes; however more complicated taxes can take up to one hour to file.

Can I learn how to prepare taxes or volunteer with your program?
To volunteer or learn how to prepare taxes visit www.refundohio.org

I missed the filing deadline. Can I still come to CHN to file my taxes?
Yes. CHN’s offers our free tax preparation services year round and can prepare taxes dating back from 2004.

How soon will I get my tax return if I do a direct deposit vs. having it mailed to me?
Taxes filed electronically and direct deposited can take up to 7-10 business days. Mailed tax returns can take up to 14 business days.


FAQS – UTILITY ASSISTANCE

What is HEAP?
HEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). It is designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating. HEAP pays a one-time payment for most regulated utility customers reflecting their usage for the current winter heating season.

How can I determine if I am eligible for HEAP?
Eligibility for HEAP is based on household income. In order to qualify, the total household income of an applicant must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. If you are still unsure if you qualify, submit a HEAP application and we will meet with you to determine your eligibility for assistance through any of the energy assistance programs.

What should I bring to my HEAP appointment?
If you are coming to one of our sites for a HEAP appointment, please remember to bring along your current gas and electric bills (even if only requesting assistance on one bill), current proof of income for everyone in the household, social security numbers for all household members, and photo ID.

Emergency HEAP
How is Emergency HEAP different from HEAP?

Emergency Heap is a special program that occurs twice a year during summer months and winter months and is for when someone has a threat of disconnect or is disconnected or has less than a ten-day supply of bulk fuel. This program is currently closed.


What is PIPP Plus?
PIPP Plus allows eligible customers to make affordable monthly energy payments on a year-round basis. When a PIPP Plus household pays its monthly PIPP Plus payment on-time and in-full, some of their old debt and the rest of that month’s bill go away in the form of a credit on their utility account.

What will my monthly payment be?
Electric and natural gas customers who qualify pay $10 or 6% of their gross monthly household income, whichever is greater, to the utility company each month. If the utility provides both gas and electric services or if the customer has an all-electric home, the payment is $10 or 10 percent of the gross monthly income, whichever is greater.

What do I need to do to stay on PIPP Plus?
Natural Gas: Every 12 months you must provide proof that your gross monthly household income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level to remain a PIPP Plus customer. At that time, you must also make up any PIPP Plus payments that you missed over the past 12 months. You will have one billing cycle to make up those payments, or you will be removed from PIPP Plus, and your entire bill balance will become due. At that time, your utility may offer you an extended payment plan to help you avoid disconnection.

Electric: To remain a PIPP Plus customer, you must provide proof of your gross monthly household income at least every 12 months. If you do not provide proof of income you will removed from PIPP Plus, and your entire bill balance will become due. At that time, your utility may offer you an extended payment plan to help you avoid disconnection.

What are my options if I become ineligible for PIPP Plus?
Natural gas: Customers who become income ineligible for PIPP Plus, but are current on their PIPP Plus payment, will be placed on Graduate PIPP Plus. This new program provides customers with a 12-month transition from PIPP Plus to full payments. Under Graduate PIPP Plus, customers pay an average of their most recent PIPP Plus amount and a budget billing amount calculated by their utility. Graduate PIPP Plus customers who make payments on-time and in-full will continue to receive credits toward their monthly bill balance and a 1/12 credit to their old debt. Some small gas companies are required to offer Graduate PIPP Plus.

Electric: The electric transition and arrearage crediting program provides customers with a 12-month transition from PIPP Plus to full payments. Under the Electric Graduate PIPP Plus program, customers pay either an average of their most recent PIPP Plus amount and a budget billing amount calculated by their utility, or a regular budget payment or the cost of the electric services billed each month. Electric Graduate PIPP Plus customer who make payments on-time and in-full will continue to receive credits toward their monthly bill balance and a 1/12 credit to their old debt.

Can I participate in customer choice and PIPP Plus at the same time?
No. If you are participating in a customer choice program, and then become eligible for and participate in PIPP Plus, you will automatically be switched to the utility. If you were under a contract with a marketer, they may assess an early termination fee if you switch to PIPP Plus before your contract expires.


Water Affordability Program (WAP)

I have no income, how do I qualify for your program?
If you have no income because you lost your job, or are waiting on unemployment you will have to provide an income declaration page with your application and as long as you meet other program requirements, your application will be processed.

How long does it take for the discount to show on my water bill?
It will take 1-2 billing cycles before the discount appears on your water bill, which is typically 3 to 6 months.

What documents are required for proof of homeownership?
You will need to provide a copy of your deed or your mortgage statement along with your application. You should be receiving a monthly mortgage statement.

Do I need to contact the Division of Water?
No. Once you complete an application and have been approved there are no other steps required to receive your discount. CHN will handle all communication with the Division of Water.

How often do I have to reapply for the water bill discount?
Your discount is good for one year; we like to suggest that you reapply in the same month you applied for the previous year.

How long after I submit my application before I hear back?
Within 2 weeks of applying for the water bill discount, you will receive a letter stating that you have been approved or denied.