At January 19’s Naperville City Council meeting, the dais will consider bringing on Loaves & Fishes as a city partner to help manage a grant program to help those struggling with paying their utility bills.
More Delinquent Accounts
On March 25, 2020, near the time when COVID-19 began impacting the area, Mayor Steve Chirico issued an executive order suspending utility shut-offs for residential and commercial customers who were not up-to-date on payments. Though that order was terminated at the start of the new year, the agenda item states the city typically does not shut off utilities during the winter months, even in a normal year.
To help ease the burden of customers behind on utility payments, the city earmarked $500,000 in the city budget to be used for utility assistance. However, the city’s finance department does not have the resources to manage the amount of delinquent accounts, which have almost doubled from a typical year.
Partnering with Loaves & Fishes
City staff has been in talks with Loaves & Fishes, which has experience working with residential utility assistance through its various programs. Loaves & Fishes will only administer residential accounts, as the organization doesn’t have experience working with commercial utility accounts.
Of the half million dollars in the fund, $300,000 will be allocated to residential customers. City staff will likely be able to manage the commercial accounts internally due to there being fewer delinquent commercial customers, but each owes more on average.
To offset the costs of managing the residential accounts, Loaves & Fishes will receive 10% of the grant funds its manages.
Residents will be able to apply for a one time grant of up to $300, and businesses for grants up to $1,500.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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