For many decades, UCAN has offered assistance so that households can avoid having their power cut-off. Our energy assistance program has benefitted countless numbers of local residents. Last year alone we paid 3,410 utility bills for local folks. Now we can help households with water and sewer bills.
With the pandemic’s continuing toll on very low-income households, the federal government has expanded funding for utility assistance to help people cover their water and sewer bills as well. Households who are at or below 60% state median income are income eligible for the program. We pay utilities directly on behalf of eligible households to reconnect services, avert disconnection of services, and pay past-due amounts and current charges.
We launched the program a few months ago, and its importance has grown since then. While the pandemic continues to wax and wane, inflation has hit levels not seen since the 1980s. Lower-income households are most affected by inflation, as they have few options to reduce their costs. So we are seeing more folks in need of aid to keep them from losing water and sewer service.
At the same time, utilities benefit from this program, as it helps them cover charges for prior service they might not otherwise be able to recover. We’ve been delighted to have fifteen local utilities enter into agreements to offer this service to their customers. Together, we’re helping their customers address the most basic need of all!