HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —
Huntsville Utilities is planning to give COVID-19 relief to charity groups and locals in need.
Back in March and April, Huntsville Utilities announced they’d be forgiving late fees for those struggling during the pandemic and launching a COVID-19 relief fund with Tennessee Valley Authority.
This week, the first donations will go to organizations that serve the homeless to help them pay their utility bills.
Groups like The Downtown Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army, and Safe Harbor Youth are among those receiving donations.
But, we’re told in the next few weeks people who lost their jobs during the pandemic could be getting some of this money.
We met with Joe Gehrdes, Community Relations Director of Huntsville Utilities. He tells our reporter, “Folks who are in that situation and can’t pay their bill can contact the Salvation Army to see if they’re eligible for this particular fund. Keep in mind, we do have other assistance programs available... We have announced that we are going back to our regular business practices in August. So, don’t wait to reach out if you need assistance.”
To apply for assistance, contact The Salvation Army at 256-536-5576.
Gehrdes urges customers to communicate any need for payment extensions or any other assistance to Huntsville Utilities sooner, rather than later.
Huntsville Utilities service disconnections and late fees will be back in place on all bills issued on or after August 3. These disconnections will not take into account any charges that were accrued during the charge suspension period. We're told that time is from March 16 to August 2.
Here's more information on the COVID-19 relief fund according to a news release from Huntsville Utilities sent July 21:
NEWS RELEASE – HUNTSVILLE UTILITIES
HUNTSVILLE UTILITIES DISTRIBUTES COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS TO LOCAL CHARITIES
Tuesday – July 21, 2020 – 3:30pm
Huntsville Utilities understands how disruptive the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been and remains committed to doing what is right for our customers. In April, Tennessee Valley Authority partnered with Huntsville Utilities to establish a COVID-19 relief fund to assist utility customers financially impacted by the pandemic.
Money for this fund comes from Huntsville Utilities (and its employees), local businesses, and a matching grant of $80,000 from TVA.
This week, the first donations from this fund will be disbursed to the following organizations providing assistance in the community:
The Downtown Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army, New Futures, 1st Stop, Hope Place, RiahRose Home for Children, and Safe Harbor Youth.
In the coming weeks, additional funds will be distributed to local charities and customers requiring assistance. To apply for assistance, contact The Salvation Army at 256-536-5576. Additional relief may also be available from other local community support organizations and assistance agencies.
If you are experiencing a financial hardship, please contact us now at 256-535-1200 to make a payment arrangement. Customers are encouraged to pay their bill each month to avoid accumulating large balances. We will continue to work closely with our customers experiencing any hardship with their account.
Businesses and individuals who wish to contribute to the COVID-19 relief fund should contact Huntsville Utilities at 256-535-1200.