“Individuals are Determined”: Extra folks search assist from utility firms by way of the Greensboro Housing Coalition

GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – The Greensboro Housing Coalition is seeing an increase in the number of people who need help to pay utilities.

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“The people are desperate. People call and cry. People are extremely frustrated, ”said Executive Director Josie Williams.

She said poor quality housing was partly responsible for the increase. Williams searched a pile of checks for assistance and collected a water bill for more than $ 3,300.

“If your water is cut off, that is a cause for judgment. We can’t let the people out here have their water cut off because they haven’t paid, because they can’t afford it. And in this case it was not your own fault. This was a maintenance issue that they tried unsuccessfully to fix, ”said Williams.

She said that due to the pandemic, forfeiture grace periods are expiring and previous bills are piling up.

“If I had to categorize and organize them, I’d say high water bills, then high Duke Energy bills, then high internet bills,” Williams said.

Most of the demands for rental and utility relief come from the eastern and southeastern counties of Greensboro.

“I think people have overcome their fear of asking for help. I think there’s so much desperation building up that now people are saying, ‘Please help me,’ ”she said.

Williams says almost all of their clients work to support their families.

“We’re talking about children who have to work from home. We often speak of a lot of remote workers. People need this internet … people run the risk of losing what affects their financial stability if they can’t work, ”she said.

Williams said the end of the eviction moratorium exacerbated the need.

Before the pandemic, the organization received around 100 calls for help per week, then 1200 at the height of the pandemic.

Currently, the Greensboro Housing Coalition receives approximately 1,400 calls a week.

The City of Greensboro is earning an additional $ 10 million for its emergency aid program to rent to help families in need.

You can find the online application on the city’s COVID-19 housing subsidy page.

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