HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — If you're having trouble paying your bills during the pandemic, you're not alone. But, there are some organizations here in the Valley that could help.
We’re living in a time like no other and the coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of things-- but, bills aren't stopping. Some groups are able to help if you find yourself struggling.
Joe Gehrdes from Huntsville Utilities says communication is key when it comes to issues paying your utility bill. He says, “The best thing you can do for yourself and to keep your utilities on is to contact us.”
Back in March, Huntsville Utilities suspended payments for customers who couldn’t pay their bills. But, payments went back to normal in August. Gerhdes says, “You are automatically enrolled in an installment plan to pay those funds back up to a year.”
Gehrdes says Huntsville Utilities has a plan to help people going through hard times. He adds, “We do have a special fund established to assist customers who found themselves unemployed due to the pandemic. Those funds go through the Salvation army.”
He says, since they reinstated normal payments, they haven’t heard from many more than the normal number of people in need of help with payments.
But, just down the street at the Huntsville Assistance Program, that’s not the case. Kim Houser with Huntsville Assistance Program says, “We’re definitely helping lots and lots of people pay their bills every month. And we definitely have a close relationship with Huntsville Utilities and working to make sure that no one has a very large bill. We’ve been paying very large bills sometimes.”
The program has given assistance that totals up to nearly 37 thousand dollars in August alone, and over 161 thousand dollars worth of assistance this year. Gayla Kidd with Huntsville Assistance Program says, “We would rather help 10 families wholly rather than give 200 dollars to a 1,000 dollar bill and they’re still in the muck, and the mire.”
Kidd says they've seen homeowners in need. She adds, “I believe we’re the only ones, or one of the only ones, that give any assistance to mortgages. And there again, we feel if you’ve worked hard enough to own a home and now you’ve hit a bump in the road, we need to help you get over that bump.”
To learn more about bill assistance programs in Madison County, click here.