Due to some recent rate water bill increases, low income families in Toledo City Oregon can see if they qualify for the Help To Others program. It was created in an effort to help offset some of those increases. Many Lincoln County families are struggling with paying their water bills, and any type of increase that the county or city implements only makes it more difficult for them. While the program does rely on donations from the community (so it is very limited) there may still be some funding for the less fortunate.
The program kicked off when the city needed to pay for some updates to the distributions system as part of the Water System Improvement Program. When this program commenced, the city and the county needed to substantially raise its overall water rates to pay for it.
To raise money for the Help To Others program, or H2O, the monthly utility bill was modified to add a line for either residential or business customers to write in donations. All of the money collected will go directly to helping families that are hard hit by the recent increases. Many customers that are struggling include the elderly or maybe families with young children. So your donations will make the difference in the life of some local Lincoln County family. All money you contribute will go towards the program and helping the less fortunate and your donations will not go to pay for the administrative costs of H2O.
The water bill assistance program will be administered by the non-profit Community Services Consortium. They are a key partner in this endeavor. They also manage other city programs such as the “SOS” program for Central Lincoln People’s Utility District. The non-profit CSC processes applications, determines eligibility, verifies income, decides who qualifies and more. The agency can answer questions and ensure people are directed to the most appropriate resources. They are also the lead agency in distributing the funds to qualified low income families.
The city of Toledo outsourced this task to CSC as they will help ensure the program is administered fairly across the service territory. In addition, they can administrate the program far more efficiently than the city or Lincoln County can.
The Toledo Help To Others program will focus most of its funding on people that were making an effort to pay their water bill in the past but are facing a short term crisis. So it is not some form of long term, government charity program. This should also help reassure people who donate that their contribution will be put to good use.
Most qualified households will only receive a small payment to help apply towards their delinquent water bill. While a number of conditions will need to be met by applicants, and CSC or the city can change them, they may include the following. To qualify for the H2O Help To Others program, Toledo utility customers need to have a household income at or below 60% of the median income. The city has also set a maximum annual cash benefit from the program, so customers can't apply multiple times and continue to get help.
Struggling customers have other options available to them as well. The county is also working with more low income or unemployed customers on payment plans. This can provide people more time to catch up on their outstanding bills and to bring them current. Or call CSC at 541-265-8505 for information on other local or federal government resources.
Like this site?