LAWRENCE, Kan. – City of Lawrence residents whose income has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic can soon apply for assistance in paying their city utility bill.
The city has been awarded $500,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES, for an assistance program to help utility customers with economic hardship due to COVID-19. The program will help residents cover utility bills incurred between March 1 and Dec. 10, and will begin accepting applications on Nov. 1, according to a city staff memo.
The city has partnered with various local social service agencies to administer the program. Applicants will need proof of being a residential utility customer, proof or certification of not being able to pay utilities due to a loss/reduction of income due to the economic impact of COVID-19, and proof of economic need. Specifically, a household’s pre-COVID-19 income must have been less than 80% of the area’s average median income, or a household can affirm eligibility if it is receiving benefits through other programs, such as Medicaid.
The annual income limit is $49,500 for one person, $56,600 for a household of two, $63,650 for a household of three, $70,700 for a household of four, and $76,400 for a household of five. Residents whose income exceeds the threshold are still eligible to apply to the program, but those at or below 80% average median income will be prioritized.
Those who have a delinquent balance of 22 days or more will be notified by mail about the program. As of Oct. 20, there were 3,359 active utility accounts with a balance more than 21 days past due, totaling about $1.04 million in delinquent payments, according to city reports.