Air Waves – January 2015 Newsletter


Asthma heats up when it gets COLD!

The cold Ohio winter creates special challenges for people with asthma – breathing in very cold air can trigger an attack, but when homes are more closed up in the winter, the indoor air can be unusually full of triggers such as mold and pet dander.

When the staff at The Breathing Association make home visits to people who suffer from asthma, they identify problem areas that can lead to an asthma attack – and a potential trip to the ER.

Here are a few of our tips for avoiding an asthma attack in the winter:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a clean scarf or face-mask when going outside.
  • Pet dander collects quickly in the home when pets spend more time inside. Keep pets out of the bedroom and vacuum more often.
  • Open up the windows on warmer days to air out your home and let dust and allergens escape, especially right after dusting or vacuuming. 
  • Avoid the common cold which can lead to an asthma flare-up – Get a flu shot, wash your hands frequently and avoid people who are ill.

For more information about managing asthma click here.

What is HEAT Insecurity? past due notice

Heat or energy insecurity means that a household is threatened with, or experiences, gas and/or electric utility shut-off. The heating season presents a special challenge for low-income families who are often forced to choose between paying utility bills and paying for food or other expenses. Living without heat in the winter dramatically increases the risk of illness and hospitalization for family members, exacerbates complications of chronic lung conditions such as COPD for the elderly, and threatens the long term health of young children. 

Ohio’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) assists low-income households with the costs of home heating. The Breathing Association is one of only two HEAP providers in Franklin County, helping thousands of struggling families keep the heat and lights on every winter. What’s more, for households receiving energy assistance from us, family members are also eligible to receive a free medical exam, flu shots and can received specialized care for chronic lung conditions. We are the only Franklin County HEAP provider that provides Home Visits to the home-bound or medically vulnerable.

Heat insecurity threatens the health and safety of the people The Breathing Association exists to serve. By providing heating assistance, we significantly reduce the severity and the incidence of lung health complications in this vulnerable population.


For more information about our HEAP programs, click here.

Air Waves – September 2014 Newsletter



Summer 2014 may turn out to be one of the cooler ones but the demand was hot for assistance through The Breathing Association’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).  Applications taken during July and August climbed almost 18% over last year to a record 4,229 households.  That included over 680 applicants who qualified for air conditioners or air conditioning repairs. 

“The need was great,” says Colette Harrell, HEAP Director for The Breathing Association.  “We will continue to be a beacon of hope for those in our Central Ohio community that are suffering through rough economic times and breathing problems.
Even now we are readying the assistance program for the upcoming busy winter months.”   

The Director of Lung Health Services for The Breathing Association, Renee Kirwan, points out “another benefit of the HEAP program is that we are able to identify individuals who can benefit from our other important programs.  On kickoff day alone 15 people were seen at our clinic who had been referred through the HEAP program.”

The Breathing Association pioneered the idea of air conditioning assistance under the HEAP program for households and individuals who meet the income and health qualifications.  Today’s program is administered in partnership with the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Community Assistance. 



Asthma outreach programs of The Breathing Association have received renewed support from The Reinberger Foundation.  The Northeast Ohio organization has awarded The Breathing Association a $10,000 grant. 

President/CEO of The Breathing Association, Joanne Spoth welcomed the gift.  “We appreciate The Reinberger Foundation’s investment in our work to provide asthma outreach education and services to local families to help their children breathe easier and its alignment with their commitment to enhance the quality of life for individuals from all walks of life.”

“The Breathing Association has advanced it’s mission over time,” says Karen Hooser, President of The Reinberger Foundation.  “It serves the breathing issues of those in need today as it did the individuals affected by tuberculosis more than 100 years ago.  Asthma can be fatal but with education, healthcare and screening tools it can be managed.” 


For more information or to contact our Asthma outreach nurse, call 614-437-1526.


Summer Crisis Kickoff Event

This year’s Summer Crisis Kickoff Party, held on July 1, was a great success. The event provided food, fun and health screenings for the 265 customers and family members in attendance. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) received 140 applications for assistance.


Families enjoy the food and the fun children’s activities at the Summer Crisis Kickoff Party.

HEAP’s assistance provisions help families with utility payments and provide window air conditioner units for customers with qualifying medical conditions. Appointments to be considered for HEAP can be made through our main office. Additional information on the program and assistance is available on our website.

Colette and Sadicka White

Colette, The Breathing Association HEAP Director, and Sadicka, Chief, Community Services, Ohio Development Services Agency, pose with air conditioning units that will go to needy homes.