CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – James Harris of Cleveland Heights and his 10 children lost his wife and mother Narleen Moore to cancer last November and then earlier this year the family also lost gas service and electricity after late payment.
Harris said the post-pandemic economic downturn has also made him worry he could lose his family home, leaving his children without electricity and heating for more than two months.
“Trust me all my kids know, it’s raw boiling water,” Harris said. “So people went around with coats, hoods.”
“Even if we could use space heaters, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. I don’t want someone kicking the fireplace where it could catch on fire because of the furniture in the bedroom. “
Harris said his church, New Community Bible Association, Salvation Army and CHN Housing Partners have joined in to help. CHN Housing Partners quickly guided Harris through its utility assistance program, paying past due bills, putting Harris on a payment plan and restoring the home’s electricity and gas service.
“The CHN Housing Partner, they just gave chase, they figured out what was going on and they came,” Harris said. like signing your name. It’s as simple as that, nothing difficult at all.”
Laurie Leverette, CHN Housing Partners’ Director of Utilities and Emergency Services, told News 5 that an increasing number of families in Northeast Ohio are having a hard time keeping up with their utility bills in the economy. post-pandemic. Leverette says keeping up with utility bills is crucial to keeping thousands of local families stable.
“More people come to us without ever having to use community resources, the first time they came to us, they are now unemployed, underemployed,” Leverette said. We cover lights, gas, water and sewers For example, a household of four would qualify if the household was about $40,000. “
“We want to ensure housing stability, and utilities are a big part of that. You don’t want to be in a house without heat, you don’t want to be in a house without electricity, where there’s no safe and clean water supply.”
Leverette told News 5 families dealing with a closed utility crisis can call 216-350-8008 to make an appointment. Those who are late to pay but still have service, can apply in paper at the CHN office or can fax or upload information on its website.
All the information you need about the many CHN Housing Partners Utility support programs can be found here.