by Congress back in March, called the CARES Act.
The $2 million federal assistance
fund meant to help people in
Cuyahoga County pay off their
back utility bills has run dry, a
spokesperson for CHN Housing
Partners said on Dec. 14.
Meanwhile, the Council for
Economic Opportunities in Greater
Cleveland (CEOGC) still has about
$3.4 million left of a $6.8 million
fund, meant to help people in
Cuyahoga County pay off back
water, sewer, rent and mortgage
bills they owe.
The money comes from the federal
coronavirus aid package passed
by Congress back in March, called
the CARES Act. Unless Congress
acts, that money can no longer
be used after Dec. 31, meaning
CEOGC is now under the gun to
get the money out to people who
need it. CHN Housing Partners
– the nonprofit agency that
administered the $2 million fund –
is still finishing processing the final
applications for the relief fund, but is
no longer accepting applications.
Laura Boustani, a spokesperson
for CHN, said the program helped
roughly 2,000 people pay off their
utility bills, although the nonprofit is
still analyzing its data on the fund. The
average amount of back utility bills
owed by applicants was around $772,
Boustani said. Many are facing large
utility bills because moratoriums on
utility shut-offs have cascaded to an
end since August, including Cleveland
Public Power and the Cleveland Water
Department’s moratoriums ending
on Dec. 1. Those moratoriums meant –
people who lost their jobs or who are
otherwise unable to work – weren’t
paying their utility bills for months.
Now, with the moratoriums over with,
they owe large amounts and face their
services being disconnected. Boustani
said CHN was seeing some with bills as
high as $3,000.
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