As Cleveland Sets to Resume Shutoffs, County Sets Aside $2 Million in CARES Funding for Utility Relief

by

comment
CLEPUBLICPOWER.COM
  • clepublicpower.com
Cuyahoga County announced Tuesday that $2 million in CARES Act dollars would be set aside to help eligible residents make utility payments. The timing is opportune, as the City of Cleveland announced recently that it would resume utility shutoffs for non-payment after a moratorium that has coincided with Mayor Frank Jackson's declaration of civil emergency.

County Council approved the new funding program, proposed by County Executive Armond Budish, Tuesday. The funds will be disbursed by the local nonprofit CHN Housing Partners, which is also administering the county's Rent Relief Fund.



According to CHN Housing Partners, two-thirds of applicants who have sought rental assistance are also in need of utility assistance.

“Besides rent, paying utility bills is one of the biggest struggles for working families during this pandemic,” said Kevin J. Nowak, executive director of CHN Housing Partners, in a statement provided to the media. “We are grateful to Executive Budish and County Council for allocating precious dollars to help county residents stay safely housed during this crisis.”



The available funds are reserved for applicants who are at or below 120 percent of the local Median Household Income (MHI) and have been impacted by the Coronavirus. (You can apply at this link.)

The funds will be available to residents countywide, according to a county spokeswoman, and will be disbursed as one-time payments to bring applicants current on delinquencies they may have accrued since March. Just like the rent relief fund, where dollars are sent directly to landlords, the CARES dollars in the utility fund will be sent directly to the utility companies. Dollars will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

The $2 million isn't expected to last long. For now, the program is only scheduled until the end of 2020, but the county noted it could be renewed if Congress extends the CARES Act and approves additional funding.

***
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.