Having trouble paying your bills because of COVID? you may be eligible for the City of Eureka Utility Assistance Program | Lost Coast Outpost

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With the number of cases on the rise again, it’s clear that Humboldt County has even more COVID-related challenges, and many residents will likely need financial help to make ends meet as they suffer a loss of salary or other financial impacts caused by the pandemic.

But the good news is that there are still financial aid programs to help. If you live in Eureka and are struggling to pay your bills because of COVID, you may be eligible for the city’s Utility Assistance Program, which provides money to help cover unpaid bills in the city. ‘water / sewer, electricity or garbage.

With COVID relief funds from the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the city of Eureka launched the program in April. Initially, the City could provide aid of up to $ 250 per month for two months. Now Kristen Raymond – housing coordinator for the City of Eureka – says that with more public funding available, the program is able to provide up to $ 600 per month for three months to help cover utility bills. audiences of people. And while that may seem like a lot more than enough to cover monthly utilities, Raymond says some people still struggle to make up for months of late payments.

“Once we started receiving requests, we realized that some people were so far behind that $ 250 wouldn’t even make a dent in it. [their bills]Raymond told Outpost during a recent telephone interview. “People were doing this juggling act, paying little at a time. ”

Although the pandemic prompted the city of Eureka and many agencies to impose a moratorium on shutting down the service for non-payment, it only delays the problem and people would eventually have to pay that money. With this help, beneficiaries can get caught up, instead of getting into more and more debt.

So how does it work? To be eligible for the program, you must live within the city limits of Eureka and have suffered loss of income due to the pandemic. For many people, this means that they have lost their jobs, had to stay home to care for a sick family member or with their children due to the closure of schools. But Raymond was keen to stress that these are not the only scenarios that make you eligible for assistance. Many people have also lost a secondary source of income, such as mowing lawns or deliveries. The loss of income doesn’t have to come from your main job, Raymond said.

Since the funding should only be used to pay for utilities, you should also provide copies of any utility bills that you are struggling to pay. Once you are approved, the City will pay the amount you owe directly to the agency, such as PG&E. The program can only be used to cover essential utilities including water / sewerage, garbage or gas / electricity. Raymond said there were plans to pay for the internet – which has also become quite essential – but it was a bit complicated, as many people’s internet service comes with cable, which is not a service. that may be covered by the program.

After the city launched the program, employees contacted people with overdue water bills to inform them of the financial assistance available to them. Raymond said some people have applied, but there is still a lot of funding available and the City would like to see more people using this program, especially as we will likely see more people being financially impacted by COVID. in the future.

While this program can only help with utility bills, Raymond wanted to make sure the public was made aware of financial assistance to help cover rent – which she says a lot of people ask her. Previously, the town of Eureka offered a rent and mortgage assistance program, but all funds have been distributed and the program is no longer operational. For those struggling to pay their rent, help is still available through California’s Housing is Key program. You can find more information on how to apply here.

To apply for the Eureka Utilities Assistance Program, you will need to complete this application and bring or mail it to the Eureka City Finance and Housing Department – 531 K Street, Eureka CA 95501 – or l ‘send by e-mail to [email protected] ca.gov.

You can email for more information or call Kristen Raymond at 707-441-4209.

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