Financial aid available for Peorians struggling to pay bills due to pandemic

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — New assistance is available for Peoria homeowners and renters struggling with utility payments.

A total of $300,000 will be used to fund Peoria’s Utility Assitance Program. The aid was made possible through the federal CARES Act.

“The program came about because unfortunately on March 31st, the State of Illinois and Illinois Commerce Commission made a decision to lift the utility moratorium that was in place,” said Joe Dulin, Peoria’s Assistant Director of Community Development.

The program will provide up to six consecutive months of payments for overdue electric, gas or water bills. Dulin said anywhere between 100 and 150 households could receive help.

“Unfortunately with the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of people who kind of live paycheck to paycheck, and maybe they had their income negatively affected by COVID and are struggling to make those payments. We don’t want them to get their utilities shut off. Everyone is entitled to safe and affordable housing in the Peoria area,” he said.

To qualify, applicants must be a resident of Peoria and living below or at 80% of the median area income. The application period will continue through May 14 and those that will receive aid will be chosen through a random lottery on May 19.

The selected applicants will be contacted by City staff and a list of the selected applicants will be
available at www.appreciatepeoria.com.

Dulin says those that are not chosen during the lottery will be put in contact with other community resources.

Applications are available online or in paper form at City Hall, 419 Fulton Street, Room 203, Peoria, Illinois, 61602. Residents may call 309-369-2060 to have a paper application mailed to them.

An online training session will be available on Monday, April 19th via www.appreciatepeoria.com, the City of Peoria’s YouTube channel and Channel 22 to assist residents with the application process.

Residents may also call Cassie Belter, Grants Coordinator at 309-369-2060 for application assistance.

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