Utility Assistance Program



 Utility Assistance Program
(Up to a maximum of $1,000)

PURPOSE

The City of Pekin will initially invest up to $500,000 through its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support qualifying households in the Pekin community that have overdue/delinquent utility bills including electric, gas, water, and wastewater.

The coronavirus pandemic and associated social distancing restrictions have resulted in significant economic impact in our region. For many households, the economic impacts have been so severe that many households have been unable to pay their utility service costs in their entirety and are now at-risk of shutoff as moratoriums expire.

Funds under this program are limited and thus the City will accept applications from February 22, 2021 through March 19, 2021 at 11:59pm and subsequently select as many applicants as funding allows to receive assistance during this round of funding. Selections will be made at random from the list of applications that City staff have determined as complete and eligible based on the rules described in this program announcement. Submission of an application does not guarantee assistance.

The following requirements, selection criteria and procedures will be adhered to during the program selection and disbursement process:

 FUNDING REGULATIONS

The use of CDBG grant funding is governed by federal regulations, which state that funds must primarily benefit individuals with low- to moderate-income (LMI). This program meets that requirement through the applicant’s certification that their household income is below the thresholds, adjusted for the number of adults and children living in the residence, as shown on the following chart:

People in Household

1

2

3

4

Monthly Gross Income Limit

$3,716

$4,250

$4,779

$5,308

People in Household

5

6

7

8

Monthly Gross Income Limit

$5,733

$6,158

$6,583

$7,008


This program is largely funded through an additional CDBG allocation from HUD associated with the CARES Act. Regulations require that spending from CARES Act funds must largely be intended to prevent or respond to the effects of coronavirus and its associated social distancing restrictions. Additionally, HUD regulations specify that no more than six consecutive months of assistance may be provided to a household. Based on these considerations, the City has limited assistance to utility bills with due dates as shown on the billing statement between August 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021. Bills submitted with due dates outside of this period will not be considered for assistance. 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

To be considered potentially eligible for assistance through this program, the applicant household must:

  • Reside in the Pekin city limits;
  • Must be a homeowner or a renter with a written lease agreement;
  • Have monthly gross household income below threshold limits to be considered a low- to moderate-income household by HUD;
  • Have unpaid overdue/delinquent utility (electric, natural gas, water, or wastewater) bills, all of which were incurred while residing at the applicant’s current residence address with billing due dates between August 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021; and
  • Submit a complete application with all supporting documentation as described within the application instructions, submitted within the application window provided in this program announcement

HOW TO APPLY

  1. Applicant households may visit https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/pekinil/participant to create an account and begin their application. You must have a valid e-mail to apply for this program electronically. If do not have access to a computer or a valid e-mail address, please utilize the contact information at the end of this program announcement to request a paper application or visit Pekin City Hall.
  2. Upon visiting the page, please click “Register” to create an account. Please make sure you use a password that you can remember, as this login will be used to apply for current and future funding opportunities provided by the City of Pekin, checking the status of your application or uploading additional documents requested by the City.
  3. After creating your account, please sign-in using the e-mail address and password you provided.
  4. You will then be brought to your account dashboard, which you will use to start your application.
  5. Complete an application, being sure to answer all questions within the application process and uploading all required documentation as instructed. During the application process, you can start, stop and continue the application at any time prior to pressing submit on the final page of the application (before the grant deadline).
  6. We encourage you to bookmark/favorite this page for convenient access in the future should you wish to return to check the status of your application.

SELECTION PROCESS

After the application portal close date has elapsed:

  • All applications submitted within the portal open/close dates will be reviewed for completeness. Applications deemed substantially incomplete (such as failing to upload all documents as instructed or providing incomplete “placeholder” data on the application document) will be denied. Therefore, it is extremely important for applicants to carefully follow the instructions provided in the application.
  • All applications will then be reviewed for eligibility requirements described in this program announcement. Applicant households that do not meet eligibility requirements or submitted substantially incomplete applications will be notified via e-mail (by mail for those that utilized paper applications) of their denial and will be no longer be considered for assistance. Due to the volume of applicants expected, incomplete applications will not be reconsidered once deemed incomplete or invalid.
  • All applications that were determined as complete and eligible will be included in a random selection process. City staff will utilize a sequence randomization tool located at Random.org, a website that provides randomization tools and certified lottery/drawing selection services.
  • Selected applicants will be notified via e-mail (or paper mail if utilizing a paper application) of their selection while any remaining non-selected applicants will be retained on the list for potential future selection if any more funding becomes available. The order of selections will continue using the list previously generated through the random selection process.
  • Applicants should not expect routine updates on their application status. Applicants will only be notified if their application has been selected or deemed ineligible since additional selections may be made should additional funding become available in the future and those applications will be retained for a period of one (1) calendar year from the date of submission.
  • Every 10th application selected will be added to an income audit list and will be required to complete additional forms and provide supporting information/material including (but not limited to) income, tax, and social security documents for verification by HUD. Instructions for this process will be provided to those applicants that are selected for this additional verification process and compliance with these requirements are mandatory for the applicant to receive an award.

GRANTMAKING

Applicant households meeting the eligibility and application submission requirements that are selected for assistance as specified in this program announcement shall be considered eligible for up to $1,000 in utility assistance with the following conditions:

  • Utility assistance may only be provided for unpaid utility bills for electric, natural gas, water or wastewater services with billing due dates as indicated on the billing statement(s) between August 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021;
  • Receipt of alternative utility assistance by the applicant or anyone in the applicant’s household may reduce the overall assistance provided by the City due to CARES Act requirements; and
  • Utility assistance is paid directly to utility providers and no direct payments will be made to applicant households selected for an award;

GRANT TIMELINE

Application Portal Opens

Monday, February 22, 2021

Application Deadline

Friday, March 19, 2021

Anticipated Approval Notifications

Monday, March 29, 2021

Anticipated Payments to Utilities Begin

April 2, 2021


CONTACT FOR QUESTIONS

Due to the volume of applicants expected, incomplete applications will not be reconsidered once deemed incomplete or invalid.  Therefore, if you have questions about the application process, require assistance or are in need of a paper application, please contact the City at: