WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Many families are forced into financial insecurity, an issue that goes well beyond rent, mortgages, and insurance.
For some making utility payments is a struggle.
"I know it's tough getting help sometimes and asking for assistance, but you have to do what's right for yourself and your family," said Jason Kessler, a single father of two.
Kessler said he relies on financial assistance to get his family by.
"I was very fortunate to take care of the bills, a few were late, but this definitely got me back on track," said Kessler.
Wednesday, the Palm Beach County Community Services Department (CSD) set up shop at the Lantana Branch Library for people to learn about and apply for up to $5,000 in utility assistance.
"It's essential, it really is. Especially in the community that we're in but all libraries, it's really really important that we become community hubs," said Susan Kelly the branch manager of Lantana Road Branch. "We're seeing a lot of elderly people, a lot of senior citizens, but it goes across all age groups, all spectrums."
It's called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Since the pandemic began, the CSD has helped 17,000 households with over $8.6M in electric and utility assistance.
"When someone can come in and speak to another person, it really makes a difference, especially people who are on the wrong side of the digital divide and don't have a computer at home, don't have internet access and don't have the ability to fill out the applications online and really need people to talk to," said Kelly.
The pop-up clinic is just one in a series of events through underserved parts of Palm Beach County.
"There are families who are struggling, families who are living without electricity, without water and they are hungry. And to an extent that we can get these services out to those individuals and provide some temporary relief, we want to do that," said James Green, the director for Palm Beach County Community Services Department.
Eligibility is based on income guidelines, and you will need the following documents:
-Most recent home energy bill/final utility termination notice
-proof of income (two months of pay stubs)
-government-issued ID, birth certificate for children, social security card
-SNAP or Medicaid letter.
"We'll have teams going to areas throughout the county making sure residents can apply for assistance with their utility bills, making sure they have the same access as individuals who can go to utilityassistancepbc.org and apply for assistance online," said Green.
Additional details can be found here or by calling CSD’s Contact Center at 561-355-47.