Wake County is helping local residents keep the lights on, the water running and other utility services active through a new relief program for people struggling to pay utility bills due to COVID-19.
WakeHELPS offers up to $500 per household to pay past-due balances on bills for electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater and solid waste services. Using $5 million in federal funds, the program should help at least 10,000 families pay back what they owe to utility providers.
“With protections against utility shutoffs beginning to expire, Wake County is stepping up to help families who can’t make ends meet during this pandemic,” Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford said. “No one should have to go without water at a time when handwashing is so critically important, and no one should have to go without air conditioning when the heat index is in the triple digits.”
To qualify for WakeHELPS, applicants must:
- Live in Wake County;
- Demonstrate that they have suffered financially from COVID-19; and
- Provide copies of past-due utility bills from March 1, 2020, or later.
Residents must also meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2020 low-moderate income limits for our region. The maximum earnings are $39,540 for an individual and $56,460 for a family of four.
WakeHELPS will not cover the cost of internet or telephone service, nor special fees, assessments, or any utility fines or penalties accrued for improper use.
Applications may be completed online, or picked up and dropped off in-person at the:
- Swinburne Building at 220 Swinburne St. in Raleigh; or
- Eastern Regional Center at 1002 Dogwood Drive in Zebulon.
Funding for WakeHELPS comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provided $194 million to Wake County. In June, the Board of Commissioners allocated CARES Act money to fund the county’s ongoing response to COVID-19 for Fiscal Year 2021, which includes relief programs such as WakeHELPS.
To learn more and apply, go to wakegov.com/wakeHELPS or call 919-212-0476.
Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19.
You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents in English and in Spanish, a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19.
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