Richmond residents struggling to keep up with their utility bills or already several months behind as a result of economic hardships from the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for assistance from the city.
The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has received funding from the COVID-19 Municipal Utility Relief Program – originally provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – to make this assistance possible.
“As we go into these winter months, we know that folks have been struggling because of the pandemic and also because of the economic downturn, and we want to ensure that all of our residents are in a heated place over the next coming months,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said during a virtual COVID briefing on Wednesday.
“I encourage everyone who is behind on their bills to take a few minutes just to apply for relief, and I guarantee you it will be well worth it,” Stoney added.
Funding from this program is intended to be a one-time opportunity with only one payment for a household or business, according to a press release.
The program is accepting applications from eligible residents until January 17th.
🚨 You may qualify for utility relief if you’ve faced financial hardship during the pandemic and fallen behind on your bills. Visit https://t.co/Mk8eCozEnT to learn more and apply. Deadline for applying is January 17. pic.twitter.com/yD3Qg9YdK3
— City of Richmond, VA (@CityRichmondVA) December 21, 2020
In order to be eligible for the relief assistance, applicants must meet specific criteria: Be a customer of the city of Richmond DPU and have active utility service; have experienced or been impacted by economic hardship because of the pandemic; have fallen behind on their City water, wastewater or natural gas utility bill for services between March 1st through December 30; have not received any other type of financial assistance or relief for their utilities.
People who believe they meet the criteria are encouraged to apply. If approved, that person will be notified on their February 2021 utility bill and the funds will go directly to their DPU account.
Additionally, hard copies of the application can be picked up at one of several locations:
- City Hall | 900 E. Broad Street, Room 115
- East District Initiative | 701 N. 25th Street
- Southside Community Services Center | 4100 Hull Street
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