Direct relief: $239K helps hundreds pay utility bills

City, Community Action Commission partnership aids residents

who lost income due to pandemic

COVINGTON, Ky. – More than 600 Covington families got help paying overdue utility bills during the pandemic, thanks to a City program funded by a federal grant and administered by the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission.

All told, 625 unique households received an average of $382.76 per household through the Utility Assistance Program to pay overdue gas/electric, sanitation and/or water bills.

The City contracted with the NKCAC to administer and distribute $239,223 in CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funds allocated to Covington to fight hardship among its residents caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Hammons, the City’s CBDG/HOME Program Coordinator, said the impact of the program was even greater than it appeared because it helped halt the often-cumulative impact of late payments.

“Overdue bills can start adding up and then crush someone without much income, so this program was needed to stop that process,” Hammons said. “Our citizens are our first priority, so providing this assistance to those who needed it most was a no-brainer. Not everyone has family members or emergency savings to provide a financial cushion when there is an extraordinary and unexpected event such as a pandemic.”

NKCAC officials said the assistance came at an opportune time.

“The Utility Assistance Program through the City of Covington has been very impactful in helping Covington families who are still struggling to make ends meet even after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NKCAC Vice President of Community Development Rhonda Chisenhall. “The additional funds provided through the City and the CDBG have gone a long way in assisting families during these difficult times. NKCAC is glad to be able to administer these funds to the families in need in Covington.” 

The money was paid directly to the utility companies and was distributed to low-income households on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The stimulus funds were put to their best use, which was direct assistance to persons and families who had been negatively affected by the pandemic and ensuing economic downturn,” Hammons said. “It was a great program.”


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