posted on November 18, 2014 20:03
There is a way to help Statesville residents stay warm this winter. Statesville utility customers have been reaching out to help their neighbors in need through the Statesville Connects Program since 2007. Created by the City of Statesville, this voluntary assistance program is funded by donations from Statesville utility customers and other individuals and organizations. The City works with the Salvation Army to distribute these funds to Statesville residential utility customers who need assistance with their utility bills.
During the past year, the program assisted about 45 customers, but according to Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh, "the need is much greater". As colder weather moves in for the winter, Kutteh is urging citizens to begin donating to the program. "It's very easy to do," he explained. "All a customer has to do is add a donation to their monthly utility bill or make a one-time donation."
There is a form that the customer fills out to designate the amount that will automatically be added to their monthly utility bill. The forms are online or can be obtained by calling 704-878-3564.
The Salvation Army screens the requests and recipients are given a voucher to use when paying their bill at the City's Customers Service office.
"Our staff does its best to help customers in need, but the City is not a social services agency," explained Kutteh. "We can provide them with a list of local agencies that help people with utility bills, but unfortunately, there is more need than there are funds."
Kutteh said many of our citizens don’t hear about the residents the Customer Services office sees daily. “I have become aware of a customer who recently, after her daughter became sick, had to quit her full-time job and travel out of state so the daughter could receive medical care. They returned to Statesville where the mother continued to take care of her daughter and granddaughter, but could not afford to get the power turned on in their residence. She was unemployed, went to every agency in our community seeking help, but the funds were just not there,” recalled Kutteh.
“This is just one example of why more of us need to support the Statesville Connects program,” he stressed.
“The Mayor and City Council started this program as a way for citizens to help each other. Currently, there are more than 400 customers per month subject to utility disconnection. Without question, it is making a difference,” stressed Salmon.
Contributions to the Statesville Connects Program may be tax deductible. The City will provide you with annual statements to document your total donation.
Statesville residential utility customers needing financial assistance should contact the Salvation Army office, located at 1361 Caldwell St. to determine whether they qualify for the program.
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