LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Today is the deadline for low-income Los Angeles residents to apply for assistance with paying utility bills amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City Council voted earlier this month to use $50 million in COVID- 19 relief funds to help struggling Department of Water and Power customers.
“Our low-wage workers continue to suffer in silence,'' Council President Nury Martinez, who authored the motion to create the program, said then. “They are the first to put themselves and their families at risk through their essential work. I am unapologetically dedicated during this pandemic to helping them get whatever resources they need to hang on and stay in their homes.''
The COVID-19 Utility Grant Program is operated in partnership with the DWP and will distribute funding by a lottery system -- but people affected by the pandemic who are already enrolled in the DWP's low-income assistance program will be prioritized.
Help is available in multiple languages for applicants of the program. Community-based organizations working with the DWP are able to provide application help in English, Spanish, Armenian, Chinese Mandarin, Haitian Kreyol, Korean, Russian, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Los Angeles city residents who are DWP customers making 50% of the area median income or less will be eligible to receive a one-time $500 check to assist with utility costs, which includes gas, cellular phone, Wi-Fi and Internet/cable services.
The program is expected to serve up to 100,000 households, according to Martinez.
“Our low-income communities have demonstrated tremendous resilience and strength during this national public health emergency,'' Councilman Curren Price said earlier this month. “COVID-19 has hit the working poor and people of color the hardest, and it is up to their government to put forward a range of solutions that mitigate the challenges of this remarkable time in human history.''
Applicants for the funding must be DWP residential customers with an online account during the enrollment period.
More information about applications and the Utility Grant Project is at ladwp.com/UtilityCares.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images