RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If you live in Wake County and you’re struggling to pay your utility bills this summer then there’s a program that may be able to help.
The county’s annual Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) provides help to low-income families or those “who are experiencing a cooling-related crisis,” according to a release from the county. It comes just in time as temperatures have recently been in the upper 80s and 90s and are expected to remain there for some time.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone who wanted to apply for the program had to do so in person at specific locations throughout the county. Because of the pandemic, applications can now be sent in from home.
If a person applying does not have access to email or fax, they can call Wake County Human Services for help at 919-212-7000.
“Energy assistance is going to look different this year but is still available for those who need it,” said Janny Mealor, program manager for Wake County’s Energy Assistance. “COVID-19 has hit some families hard due to job losses, furloughs, and other extenuating circumstances. We know how far these emergency funds could go in keeping folks up to date on their bills and battling the heat this summer.”
According to the county’s release, a household can be considered “in crisis” if it is “experiencing or is in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency and assistance is not available from any other source.”
Wake County defines a life-threatening emergency as a “household which has no cooling source or has a disconnect notice for primary cooling service, and the health or well-being of a household member would be in danger if the crisis was not alleviated.”
In order to apply and be eligible for assistance, residents must meet the following criteria:
Have received a past due notice or disconnection notice from utility service provider,
Provide income verification, and
Show proof of residence in Wake County.
CIP began more than 15 years ago and “has helped thousands of residents avoid service cut-offs,” according to the county. Last year, more than 11,000 applicants received help from the county, the release states.
The program is open until all funds have been distributed and it operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Payments are made directly to the utility provider or vendor.
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