Utility Shut-Off?  CommunityAction Program can help !

Utility Shut-Off? Gila County Community
Action Program can help!UtilityAssistance1

Gila County businesses and residents alike have suffered from the economic meltdown related to COVID-19. If you are struggling to pay rent or utility bills - Gila County’s Community Action Program (CAP) staff want to help. 
“And that’s not new -- for decades prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Community Action staff have been there for low-income residents of Globe-Miami and all of Gila Country, with services including rent and utility assistance, provisions for the homeless, and making helpful connections to other state or federal resources and programs that can assist when you’re in a bind,” said Malissa Buzan, Gila County’s Director of the CAP program. “Community Action staff want to help!”
Gila County assistance starts with a simple two-page application, which you can download or print ahead of time from the website  gilacountyaz.gov;  from the main page choose ‘Offices & Departments’, then click ‘Community Services’ and then  ‘Community Action Program’. Save time and avoid a visit in person -- speed-up your application, and print a copy of the two-page prescreening form -- which must be printed, filled-out, and delivered by fax, postal mail, or delivered in person. If you don’t have internet access or a computer, call Community Action staff at (928) 425-7631 to request they mail you a copy of the rent or utility assistance application. Globe-Miami residents can arrange an appointment with CAP staff at Gila County offices in Central Heights. Appointments are required in advance for in-person visits, to schedule one please call (928) 425-7631  
Programs such as Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) can assist with your:
* cooling or heating bills - gas or electric
* Utility deposit payments
* Emergency utility assistance -- to avoid disconnection
* Utility assistance paid to your landlord, if the utility bill is part of your rent
* Home Energy Assistance Fund Program
* Crisis-related loss of income
* Unanticipated expenses
* Health and safety reasons

 Preventing Utility Shut-Offs

Arizona Public Service (APS) is halting power shutoffs through the end of the year and waiving late fees; Tempe-based Crisis Network’s Resource Liaison Danielle Fischer this week issued a statewide update about preventing utility shut-offs, saying:
“in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, various cities and companies suspended utility shut-offs in an effort to help struggling residents. Now, as shut-offs are beginning to resume, residents are being encouraged to seek financial assistance or work with their utility company to develop a payment plan if they are unable to pay their bills.
“Contact your utility company as soon as possible if you anticipate being unable to pay your bill for any reason. Your utility company will walk you through available assistance options such as setting up a payment plan, applying to one of their programs, or applying for aid through a local agency. 

APS Electric Assistance

Arizona Public Service (APS) is halting power shutoffs through the end of the year and waiving late fees. APS also offers 
Crisis Bill Assistance to qualified customers who can receive up to $800 a year to cover current or past-due APS bills through the Crisis Bill Assistance program in partnership with local agency partners. Visit the APS website or call 2-1-1 to find your local agency. Project SHARE is for qualified customers facing severe financial hardship, and can receive up to $300 a year in emergency energy bill assistance through APS’s SHARE program in partnership with The Salvation Army. Visit the APS website or call 2-1-1 to find your local Salvation Army office. Customer Support Fund: customers can receive a $100 credit if they are two months past due on their bill and have unexpected loss of income, higher medical or childcare expenses due to COVID-19. The fund is available through APS advisors by calling (602) 371-7171.

 Southwest Gas has issued a temporary moratorium on natural gas disconnections for non-payment that is in effect until further notice. Customers will see updates in the message section of their bill when a disconnect date is determined. Other relief includes Payment Extension: a 3-day payment extension can be requested online through your account, via mobile app, or through Southwest Gas’s automated phone system, available 24/7, at (877) 860-6020.

Deferred Payment Program: if you can demonstrate a hardship and have outstanding bills, the deferred payment plan allows you to pay your bill over an extended period of time and gives you an opportunity to obtain assistance before service is discontinued. Call (877) 860-6020 for more information.

Bill Assistance Program: low-income customers facing hardship or crisis may be eligible for short-term aid through the Bill Assistance Program in partnership with local agencies. For more information or to sign up, visit the Southwest Gas website or call 2-1-1 to find your local agency.

 Water services are controlled by the city or town where you live. Some cities, districts, and municipalities have issued their own moratoriums that temporarily suspend water disconnections for nonpayment, however, customers may continue to accrue charges for water, reclaimed water, sewer, and solid waste services. If you need assistance paying your water bill, contact your city, district, or municipality’s water services department as soon as possible to determine if there is a local moratorium in place, or to discuss flexible payment options. Customers can also call 2-1-1 for local agencies that may be able to offer assistance.

If your utility company is unable to provide an option that works for you, you can contact a nonprofit agency or city program that offers utility assistance. Visit the 211Arizona website or call 2-1-1 to get connected with your local utility assistance program.