As we continue into the new year and carry on the fight against COVID-19, Valley Water has partnered with Sacred Heart Community Service to launch the Low-Income Residential Water Rate Assistance Program (WRAP).
Valley Water’s Board of Directors created a rate assistance program to help low-income households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their water bill. Valley Water provided Sacred Heart $1 million in funding to distribute to low-income households in Santa Clara County.
“Partnering with Sacred Heart Community Service allows us to continue our long tradition of providing financial aid and other aid to Santa Clara County residents,” said Valley Water Board Chair Gary Kremen. “This specific program gives relief to people most affected by COVID-19, so they aren’t forced to choose between paying a water bill and providing food for their families.”
Due to remote work requirements, distance learning and past shelter-in-place orders, people experienced more time in their homes leading to higher gas, electric and water bills. Many low-income households had to choose between paying for food, rent, healthcare, or utilities. Together, Valley Water and Sacred Heart are working to prevent shutoffs and reconnection fees related to non-payment.
“This program helped a lot. I was able to use the money I would have paid the water company for my medications and better food for my service dog,” said Jose, a Santa Clara County resident.
Hundreds of households have qualified for assistance since the program’s launch in late 2021. With submitted applications still being processed, hundreds more will benefit from the initiative in the coming months.
“I applied and qualified for utility and water bill assistance through Sacred Heart,” said Elsa, a WRAP recipient. “I am relieved that I do not have to burden my family by asking them for financial help to pay outstanding bills. They are trying to get back on their feet, too.”
“Community partnerships are critical to initiating positive change and responding to community needs,” said Sacred Heart Energy Director Lorena Sanchez-Castañeda. “At a time when families are struggling to bring some stability to the distress and financial hardships caused by the pandemic, Sacred Heart Community Service and Valley Water are helping families weather the current crisis by providing water assistance relief and other resources to support our communities.”
Sacred Heart is a non-profit organization that serves low-income communities throughout Santa Clara County. Sacred Heart is also working with other Emergency Assistance Network partners throughout Santa Clara County to help with outreach to spread the word about the program.
To determine if you qualify for assistance through one of Sacred Heart’s programs, please visit sacredheartcs.org/programs.