Utility help available for some Calcasieu Parish residents

Posted at 10:27 AM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 11:27:12-04

Calcasieu Parish residents who need help paying their utilities due to COVID-19 may be able to get assistance through the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Human Services Department.

Human Services received an additional $786,000 this year through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). CSBG received these funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The department has already used $300,000 of this funding to help 100 Calcasieu Parish families with mortgage payments. Now, Human Services plans to use $75,000 of the remaining CARES funding to help some residents living in DeQuincy, Iowa, Lake Charles, Moss Bluff, Sulphur, Vinton, and Westlake who are delinquent on their utilities, such as water, sewer, and trash/garbage.

“This will allow residents who qualify the opportunity to get caught up on these essential services,” said Tarek Polite, Human Services Department Director. “This is another service we don’t usually provide; however, after conducting a needs assessment and coordinating with our local 211-provider - the United Way of Southwest Louisiana - utilities assistance ranked as one of the top three needs of residents in our community.”

Beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17, parish residents who meet the eligibility requirements are asked to call 337-721-4033 to schedule an appointment. Residents will be able to schedule appointments until 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28.

Once appointments are scheduled, qualifying residents will receive application packets by mail with detailed instructions.

Besides mortgage and utility assistance, Human Services plans to use the remaining CARES funding for rental and food assistance over the next few months.

“This is a great program being offered by the parish’s Human Services Department,” said Tony Guillory, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President. “It’s a win-win situation for the area’s municipalities, the parish, and the citizens we serve.”

“This program will provide much-needed relief for citizens of the Westlake area who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Westlake Mayor Bob Hardey. “We’re grateful to the Police Jury for its leadership in helping to soften the financial burden for these residents.”

A reminder that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LiHEAP) is available for residents who need help paying their electric bills. For information on that program, call 337-721-4030.

Residents who have questions or need information about the COVID-19 utility-relief program are also asked to call 337-721-4030.

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