New Utility Assistance Program for Cities

The federal government is making millions of dollars available to local governments to help people with overdue utility bills. The governor’s office announced on Monday that up to $38 million is available. Each city can request up to $200,000.

The Department for Local Government (DLG) will administer the funds, which are coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response (CDBG-CV) program.

Local governments should apply as soon as possible through the DLG. Once approved, cities will manage the funds in partnership with a community action agency.

Households can receive up to $250 a month for six consecutive months if they meet the following criteria:

  • They live in a city or county approved for funding.
  • They have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
  • They are struggling to pay their water, sewer, electric, gas or other heating and cooling bills; and
  • They received a disconnect notice between January 21, 2020, and March 25, 2021.

The local nonprofit community service agency will make utility payments directly to the provider on behalf of the approved customer.

Local governments can download an application here or get more information at the DLG website. You can also find CDBG-CV utility guidelines here.

These funds are separate from the Healthy at Home Utility Relief Fund the governor established in 2020. Additional money for utility relief and housing costs is expected in the coming months from the coronavirus relief act President Trump signed in December.

COVID Update

Monday’s COVID report included 1,268 new cases, the lowest number for a Monday in the past four weeks. The state’s positivity rate also dropped to 9.93%. However, the death toll continues to be high.

Governor Beshear stated at Monday’s news briefing that recent COVID deaths are the result of the surge in cases Kentucky experienced after the holidays. “Our hope is as cases decline, we will see a decline in the people we are losing,” the governor said. Monday’s 39 new deaths put the state’s death toll at 3,460.