PASCO, Wash. — As inflation soars, the cost of basic necessities has risen, which means covering utilities can be difficult for some Tri-Cities residents.
Community Action Connections in Pasco wants to help.
Recently, they launched a new program to help Benton and Franklin counties cover residential water and sewer bills.
“There’s finally a program that, for the first time, can help low-income people with water – it’s meant to help you with the balance you owe at the time,” Dalia Ochoa, director of the energy and emerging services at CAC said.
This is not the only assistance available, LIHEAP, also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is also accepting applications.
“Now most of the time people in the community will think it’s just for electricity. No, that’s a misconception because it actually covers natural gas, fuel oil, propane, wood, if your heating is included in your rent,” she listed.
You can start the application process online, and Dalia said from there you will be given a date and time to meet with the professionals at Community Action Connections.
Dalia said that for many of their customers, the help they offer is a lifeline. Especially for those on a fixed income.
“It’s a means of survival. These programs, these resources there, in fact, they rely on them,” she said.
Dalia said they also want to reach more people beyond their usual client base, to let others who may be going through difficult times have help available.
“With COVID, we’ve actually found that we’ve started to see a lot more diversity in different types of low-income standards and in different financial aspects. There’s a little gap in the middle with individuals who, they didn’t even know what to do, they didn’t even know this help existed,” Dalia said.
She explained that they were getting more and more clients seeking help, who had never needed financial assistance before.
But Dalia has repeatedly said they are able to get people back on track, just by helping to get a bill paid.
She said it’s the “thanks” and successes that keep her whole team going.
“For us, we are just doing our daily work, because we love doing what we do. So to know they have that respect to come back and say thank you, what more could you ask for? »
You can see all the services provided by Community Action Connections, here.
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