The City of Columbus is making utility assistance grants available for residents.
The funds come from the city's CARES Act allocation and be distributed to families unable to pay for utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The assistance program offers a one-time payment of up to $750 toward an eligible Columbus water/sewer/stormwater bill, and up to $500 toward an eligible power bill. Residents who qualify can receive financial help for unpaid or overdue utility charges that are at a point of service disruption. Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther says it's part of the city's effort to help keep people in their homes.
"One of the worst things we can do in the midst of a global pandemic when we're asking people to stay home as much as possible is to have those families displaced from their homes and entering either an emergency shelter system or substandard housing," Mayor Ginther said. "So we're going to continue working on that, investing resources from the CARES Act as we have and continue to work with landlords and others in the community to keep people in their homes and keep them safe during this very challenging, dire winter season."
To be eligible for the grants, applicants must have an active water, sewer or power account with the city and be at least 90 days delinquent in payment. They must also meet at least one of the following requirements: have a household income less than 150% of the current federal poverty level, be enrolled in a qualifying low income program with the Utilities Department, or show proof of job loss or reduction in income due to the pandemic.
In addition to applying for this emergency bill assistance, the city encourages customers with delinquent accounts to set up a payment plan to avoid potential shut offs in the future.
Details on these programs are available at: https://www.columbus.gov/payassist. For questions, contact Customer Service at 614-645-8276 Monday - Friday 7AM-6PM, or email BillAssist@columbus.gov.