United Way provides $100,000 to kick off program
April 12, 2017 (Flint, MI) – As the City of Flint takes necessary steps to collect payment on utility accounts that are extremely past due, leaders have come up with a way to help residents with financial hardships make the minimum payment required to keep their water/sewer accounts active.
“We have been working to get some assistance for those who really can’t afford to pay their utility bills,” said Mayor Weaver. “Thankfully, we have come up with a program that I think will help a lot of people and help the City collect payment for the water and sewer services that have been provided.”
The United Way has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department (GCCARD). The funds will be used to help Flint residents pay their outstanding water bills and prevent their water service from being shut off. Those who helped bring the program to fruition say it shouldn’t be seen as a giveaway, but instead as a hand up, a way to help residents get caught up and resume making payments for the water and sewer services they receive.
“Even before the crisis in Flint, the United Way recognized the high cost of water,” said James Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee County. “In 2013, the United Way started a small fund to help residents pay these costs. Now with the support we’ve received from donors across the country for the water crisis recovery response we are able to expand the project to serve more people and make a real difference. We are grateful to partner with the City and County to help make water more affordable for Flint residents.”
Residents with a household income at or below 150 percent of the poverty level who have active water accounts are eligible to apply. The program is a one-time support that will provide matching funds up to $350 for payments on water/sewer bills. Residents must supply the cash match themselves (funds from DHHS or another agency cannot be used). Organizers say account holders owing $700 or less in current and past due bills will benefit the most from the assistance. For example, if a resident owes the City $700 and has $350 to put towards their outstanding utility bill, the fund will match that $350 resulting in an account that is current, paid in full.
Qualifications for the water bill assistance/What residents need to apply: 1) Account holder’s income must be at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines 2) Must provide proof of 30 days income 3) Photo ID and Social Security card 4) Current water bill account summary showing balance due
Call GCCARD at (810) 244-8557 for more information, or to schedule an appointment to speak with a representative.