Hickory residential utility customers who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic may apply for utility billing assistance through a partnership program between the City of Hickory and Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry (GHCCM).
On July 21, the City entered into an agreement with Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry to utilize Community Development Block Grant funding from the CARES Act (CDBG-CV) in the amount of $155,684 to make emergency grant payments for water/sewer utility bills on behalf of needy households.
Initial guidelines of the program limited the grant payment period to three months and capped funding per household at $100.
HUD recently changed the regulation from a maximum of three months of payments to maximum of six months.
At the latest Hickory City Council meeting on October 6, Hickory City Council approved amending the funding agreement with GHCCM to extend the grant payment period to six months based on the updated HUD guidelines and eliminate the maximum grant payment to meet the greater needs of households.
“After discussions with City of Hickory Finance Department staff, we learned many of the households facing water shut off have up to six months of bills past due because of the timing of the Governor’s original executive order halting water shut offs for nonpayment. In addition, Finance Department staff indicated that many of the households are more than $100 past due,” noted Hickory Community Development Manager Karen Dickerson. “Eliminating the maximum payment amount to each household will allow many households to pay the entire past due amount and get back on a regular payment schedule. We anticipate that at least 500 families will be able to receive assistance at the increased amount.”
The utility billing assistance program is open to City of Hickory residents who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and can provide documentation of financial hardship.
For more information about the program and detailed eligibility requirements, please contact Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry at 828-327-8691.
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