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An estimated 205.4 million Americans are at risk of utility disruption.Where can I get help



According to the latest family pulse survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 79.5 million American adults live in families that have difficulty paying for their daily household expenses during the pandemic. This is 33% of the 249 million Americans over the age of 18.

Many people are now faced with difficult decisions to satisfy basic needs.

Charlie Harak, a senior lawyer specializing in energy and consumer utilities at the National Consumer Law Center, said: “By the end of this month, we will have as many as 40 states without protection.”
9.9 million Americans did not pay their rent or mortgage in time.This is how you can get help now
The National Energy Assistance Directors Association estimates that this may put 205.4 million Americans at risk of losing services. Harak said more worrying is the upward trend of laggards who are not considered “low-income” customers.

He said: “Because of Covid, the poor are not left behind in large numbers; it is a non-low-income group.” “Without utilities, you cannot live in your own house.”

The following are resources collected by CNN’s Impact Your World that may be at risk of utility disruption.

energy

Regarding energy assistance, Harak said the Low-income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a good starting point. The program is a federally funded program designed to help low-income families pay for their heating and cooling bills. It operates in every state and most tribal reservations and American territories. In the early days of the pandemic, Congress injected $900 million into the plan under the plan.
The LIHEAP Clearing House provided more information and how to determine eligibility. If you are not eligible for LIHEAP but need help paying your energy bill, your local social service agency may have other resources available.
9.9 million Americans did not pay their rent or mortgage in time.This is how you can get help now

Harak recommends contacting your gas, oil or power company to learn about budget billing procedures or other payment methods, especially for disadvantaged customers (such as the disabled or the elderly).

Halak said: “Many states have certain protective measures to prevent vulnerable groups from being fired.”

You may be eligible for a payment plan for utility bills, or meet the requirements of the AMP (Arrears Management Program), which will provide you with a payment plan and bill credits for timely payment.

water

The ability to pay for water has been an ongoing problem in the United States long before the pandemic.

Monica Lewis-Patrick, CEO of We the People of Detroit in Detroit, said: “There are 20 million Americans struggling to obtain clean, safe, and affordable water.”

“Many Americans don’t have to imagine a day without water-they are already experiencing water.”

In most water-covered states, millions of people are in danger of losing what Lewis-Patrick calls “fundamental human rights” due to the lack of closure bans.

There is no federal water bill assistance program, but if you have trouble paying your water bill during this time, you should first contact your local water authority. Although direct financial assistance is not common, they may provide you with a plan to help you gradually pay the balance of your water bill in some form of installment plan.

You may also be eligible for additional help with water bills from one of the following programs:

  • Low Income Payment Program (LIPP) It is a good choice for low-income families. In addition to cash grants, the plan also offers installment plans, which may include a 20% discount on the total monthly bill.
  • H2O help others plan Provide emergency assistance, grants and other discounts to help those at risk of water cuts. The program can also educate customers on good water usage habits.
  • Customer Assistance Program (CAPS) Use bill discounts, special rate structures, etc. to help customers with financial difficulties maintain water services.

Charity assistance program

Non-profit or local faith-based organizations may have funds available to help you stay connected through their emergency assistance programs. Charities such as the Salvation Army and United Way provide emergency assistance to utilities.
In addition, United Way also provides a 2-1-1 hotline service and a mobile application, which can provide you with recommendations for food, housing, financial assistance, public utility issues and more services 24 hours a day.

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