City accepting donations for Share 2 Care utility assistance fund with Rowan Helping Ministries

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, December 1, 2021

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The city is again accepting donations for Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ Share 2 Care Water and Sewer Assistance Program, which has helped more than 30 residents with utility bills over the last year.

The “Share 2 Care” water and sewer assistance fund is a donation-driven program through Rowan Helping Ministries that helps Salisbury residents who are experiencing financial crises pay their water and utility costs. The program was first established last fall after city council members lifted the local moratorium on utility disconnections but had concerns of outstanding balances among customers.

Rowan Helping Ministries currently has a crisis fund and contributes to locals’ utility bills. “Share 2 Care” is an additional resource, and a resident’s financial crisis doesn’t have to be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rowan Helping Ministries Executive Director Kyna Grubb told the Post “financial crisis” can be include a variety of scenarios, such as lost income from staying home with a sick child, health-related issues that have impacted one’s income, a job loss or layoff, or even a large purchase for a vehicle or home repair that put one behind on their utility payments. Residents can be renters or homeowners but must be SRU customers.

Since the first allocation in January, Grubb said residents donated more than $2,900, which was able to help 10 households and 32 residents with utility assistance. About $280 was the average amount of assistance needed for residents through Share 2 Care, which Grubb said mirrors the typical average amount of $300 needed per household from Rowan Helping Ministries’ crisis assistance fund.

Grubb said Rowan Helping Ministries is beginning to see an uptick in requests for rental and utility assistance.

“It was a huge help,” Grubb said. “It’s made a big difference for us. It’s a great opportunity for Salisbury residents to help their neighbors. And for us, it’s been great to have funding support to make sure folks are able to keep their water on.”

Rowan Helping Ministries will determine eligibility based on criteria already in place for its crisis assistance fund. Distributions are made once the fund reaches $1,000.

To apply for assistance, contact Rowan Helping Ministries at rowanhelpingministries.org for an online or paper application. Grubb said someone will reach out to applicants to discuss their applications. Donations to the fund can be mailed or delivered in-person to the Salisbury Customer Service Center located at 1415 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday an award of more than $38 million in federal funding to establish a new water assistance program for households impacted by the pandemic. Eligible households that have had their utility services cut off or are in danger of being cut off can apply for assistance in paying their bill through a temporary federal program called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program. One-time payments are made directly to the utility company.

Households that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Work First services, or those that received Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) services between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, are automatically eligible to receive this benefit if their water services have been cut off or are in danger of being cut off. North Carolinians can apply at www.epass.nc.gov.

Additionally, all North Carolina households that aren’t in danger of a cut-off but meet other criteria can apply for assistance from the program beginning Jan. 1.