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City of Akron offering financial assistance, payment plans to residents struggling to pay their utility bills

File image of running water.
Posted at 6:47 AM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 06:47:10-04

AKRON, Ohio — Akron residents struggling to pay their utility bills now have a resource available to help offset bills. Anyone experiencing economic hardship, including senior citizens, low income households and financial instability due to COVID-19 can apply for the program called Akron Cares.

Akron Cares is funded by private donations from individuals and corporations, including city employees and utility customers. Residents can qualify for the Akron Cares program if their household income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level, they are enrolled in a qualifying social assistance program or they have increased medical expenses due to COVID-19.

“In Akron, we know that many families already struggled to pay their water bills even before being hit with a pandemic, record high unemployment, and extreme social and economic stress,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a statement. “The crises of the last few months have only highlighted the importance of clean water and sanitation to our community, and the extraordinary financial burden of the City’s strict and inflexible consent decree. While the City has an obligation to collect revenue to maintain essential water and sewer projects and operations, I am simply unwilling to leave our customers in need without options or relief. This charitable program will help us work with customers to avoid shutoffs and alleviate some of the heavy burdens these families are carrying.”

On March 12, Horrigan issued a moratorium on all water service disconnections for Akron customers, which has been extended until Aug. 1.

The city mailed postcards to many delinquent customers, letting them know about the program and how to apply.

Another resources available to residents is the Akron Financial Empowerment Center, a program that provides free financial services to individuals, helping them acquire new skills to budget and save.

Apply for the Akron Cares program here.

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