Dealing with a mounting utility bill or shut-off notice can be scary, and assistance isn’t always accessible. To help make the process less daunting, the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative (NEO SoJo) compiled some tips from local advocates alongside requirements for assistance programs.
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The number of people behind on their water bills in the Cleveland area has tripled during the pandemic. Now, almost one in every four water accounts are behind by at least one bill, as the city has resumed water shutoffs for nonpayment. Everyday people like 63-year-old Janet Gill-Cooks are struggling to pay their utility bills, and to navigate the systems of assistance that are available for utility bills. What can be done about this problem?