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June 22, 2024 7:08 am

Local News

Program Helps Southern NV Seniors Pay Past-Due Utility Bills

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Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service

One Nevada program is aiming to help seniors on fixed incomes pay their utility bills.

United Way of Southern Nevada has announced the dates of the annual Project REACH Senior Expo events.

Project REACH provides financial assistance to seniors who are 62 years or order and have past-due utility bills and are having a hard time making ends meet.

Julian High, president and CEO of the United Way of Southern Nevada, said the program has been around for years and has made significant impact, supporting more than 2,100 households in fiscal year 2023.

“We know that a lot of seniors have some economic challenges, just due to living on that fixed income,” High observed. “We really try and make the utility assistance available to them in order to help ease the burden of what it takes to have everyday necessities.”

High noted the United Way chapter is proud to partner with the NV Energy Foundation, local utility providers and other nonprofit partners to expand the reach of the program as they will not only help pay for electric bills, but also with gas, water and sewer.

High emphasized it is important to note eligible individuals and households can submit one application every 12 months on a rolling basis for up to $300 in utility assistance. All applicants must have a form of Nevada ID when applying, show proof of their income eligibility and a copy of their utility bill. Utility bills must have the applicant’s name and the applicant must live at the address for which assistance is needed.

“We were funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the NV Energy Foundation,” High explained. “We felt so good about the program and the project that we are funding an additional $500,000, so there is expanded capacity for the program.”

According to research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, older adults face disproportional energy burdens, meaning they spend more than 6% of their income on utility bills. In 2020, the group found the median energy burden for seniors was 36% higher than the energy burden for the overall median household.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.