Knoxville-Knox County CAC offers utility bill assistance


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For those living in Knoxville and Knox County, if you’re having trouble paying your utility bill due to financial issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an important deadline nearing.

Maybe you lost your job, or you were furloughed and got behind on your electric bill — the federal CARES Act and the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee has some money to lend a hand.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare reports people have two weeks to apply for assistance.

Tuesday, Nov. 10 is the deadline to apply for funds available for those needing help with their utility bills. A grant, $600,000 through the federal CARES Act, and the Community Action for Affordable Neighborhoods fund is available to help potentially hundreds of families who may be eligible for assistance.

Chasity McPherson is a single mom who received help from the Community Action Committee a year ago to pay her utility bill. This year, anyone who got behind paying their bill because of COVID-19 — due to a furlough, reduction in hours — may be eligible for assistance from the federal CARES Act and the Knoxville-Knox County CAC office.

“Some of those bills we are seeing are two and three thousand dollars. I know some of the utility companies are working with people to put folks on a payment plan. It’s just one of those things that is going to be really hard for people to catch up,” Misty Goodwin, social service director, CAC, said.

To receive information, you can call one of two CAC offices or apply online. The website is KNOXCAC.ORG. Be prepared to provide a copy of your utility bill, a photo ID, and a statement from your employer or former employer explaining the break-in your income.

“We take that along with the application and process the case and try to get as many folks in here as we can before Nov. 10. Right now, we are trying to turn things around in two to three days,” Goodwin said. “Again, we have an application that is more complicated because it is a different type of funding. They’ll have to provide documentation that they lost their income, photo ID and we’ll need to do income verification.”

Just recently, a big electric bill paid by CAC with assistance from the CARES Act, helped a single mom catch up.

“She was behind since April when she had been laid off.  We were able to pay her utility bill from April to current. So now she is able to not have to worry about that piece of it,” Goodwin said.

The deadline to apply for utility assistance for those affected by the virus is November the 10th and payments are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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