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One of two emergency utility aid programs in Cuyahoga County runs dry

by Jan 13, 2021Health0 comments

By Conor Morris
The money comes from the federal coronavirus aid package passed
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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