Local governments can apply for help with utility bills

Published 8:24 am Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Monday that up to $38 million is available to local governments to help Kentuckians with overdue utility bills in their jurisdiction.

Each local government may request up to $200,000 for assistance in their communities, in a program being administered by the Department for Local Government, with funding from the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Even with our victory over COVID-19 coming into sight, times are still tough for our families,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are grateful to be able to provide these funds because they will ensure many Kentuckians won’t have to make the impossible choice between feeding their family and keeping the lights on.”

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Local governments must apply to DLG to qualify. If approved, they must then partner with a community action agency to assist with funding administration. To simplify the process and fulfill that need, DLG has partnered with Kentucky’s 15 Area Development Districts to assist local governments, local nonprofit community service providers, and eligible Kentuckians with their applications and administering funds.

Households are eligible for up to $250 per month for six consecutive months if:

–They live in a city or county approved for funding.

–Have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

–Are struggling to pay water, sewer, electric, gas, or other heating and cooling bills.

–And have received a disconnection notice between January 21, 2020, and present-day and/or up-to two months following.

Once a household’s application is approved, the local nonprofit community service provider will transfer funds directly to a utility provider on their behalf.

“We want to get this assistance out the door as quickly as possible because protecting Kentuckians is our number one priority,” said DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene. “We encourage local governments to submit applications as quickly as possible.”

Local governments can apply for CDBG-CV funds now by completing the application on DLG’s website.

Kentuckians should contact their local government for more information.

This aid follows a previous fund set up by Gov. Beshear in October 2020. He created the Team Kentucky Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund by dedicating $15 million of federal CARES Act funding, which is estimated to have helped over 63,000 individuals in more than 26,000 households through December of last year.

Another round of utility relief is forthcoming, as Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package, known as CAA, which was signed into law Dec. 27. It is expected to provide nearly $297 million to Kentuckians to protect tenants from evictions and utility disconnections, through the Team Kentucky Healthy at Home Eviction and Utility Relief Fund. More information on this program will be coming within the next few weeks.