Salvation Army and City of Spokane UHelp Program aims to pay utility bills

SPOKANE, Wash. — Throughout the past year we’ve introduced you to different organizations helping families pay bills. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Salvation Army and City of Spokane have been teaming up to help households in need.

According to move.org, the average monthly payment for water and trash in the U.S. is nearly $85, and over the course of the year, that adds up to more than $1,000, and that’s before you add electricity and internet payments.

Through the City of Spokane’s UHelp program, households can receive up to $135 for water, sewer and garbage payments. This may not seem like a lot to some, but it can be the difference between getting a bill paid or falling behind on payments and starting a snowball effect.

The funds for this programs are brought in through Spokane citizens addling a portion on to their existing bill. The Salvation Army helps with the application process and submits them to the city. They say in a time of crisis or pandemic the bills can add up.

“And now they’re left with a really massive bill and they have nowhere to go they don’t know what to do so to be proactive this program is to help that alleviate that crisis that’s going to come out in the end of when this pandemic ceases or when things start to open up,” said Cassandra Cram, the Community Services Program Manager.

Cram began working at the Salvation Army eight years ago and the UHelp program already existed. But during that time she has seen the program grow enormously, especially during the past year-and-a-half in the pandemic.

“I’ve seen about a $10 increase from six months ago and now it’s up to a certain amount and when I first started it was only $50 and now it’s up to $135,” she said. “Shows a huge need as well as how many are giving to this fund so people can access that fund,”

Those looking for help have to be at least two months past the due date on their utility bill and the bill must be from the City of Spokane. Also, recipients cannot be on snap and have not tried to receive assistance from the salvation army during the past 12 months.

If you would like to apply for the program you can visit the salvation army family resource center off of Indiana Ave. or give them a call during their business hours Monday – Friday at (509) 325-6814.