Sun City Community Assistance Network officials moved forward on one new program and continue to research another.
The agency’s board approved a program to help low-income residents having trouble keeping up with water bills. The program is like CAN’s electricity and natural gas help programs, according to Hugh Duncan, CAN board president.
To be eligible for the program, low-income residents must be at least 65, have lived in Sun City for at least one year and have an income of $1,610 per month for a single person or $2,178 for a 2-person household. Successful applicants can have up to $150 paid on their overdue water bill.
“We have programs for APS and Southwest Gas, but we didn’t have one for water crisis,” Duncan said.
CAN board member Jim Graff said he talked with EPCOR Water Co. officials and they had no problem with a program to help residents pay water bills. Lynn Rode, CAN executive director, said no money would be given to qualified residents. Instead, they would bring in their water bills and CAN officials would send the checks to cover them directly to EPCOR.
The water company, the sole provider to Sun City and Youngtown, participates in a CAN program that provides rebates for water costs for qualified condo owners. APS and Southwest Gas provides discounts to condo owners, but because water is generally paid by the condo association, no water discounts are provided.
“That didn’t seem fair, so we talked to the Arizona Corporation Commission to allow us to offer this program for condo owners,” Duncan said.
A documented crisis is defined as a loss of income, unexpected repairs, medical expenses or other unexpected problems, according to Duncan.
The board also agreed to continue efforts to secure a partner for a housing assistance program. CAN officials approved a memorandum of understanding with a major partner for the program, but the agreement had yet to be considered by the potential partner at press time. The program won’t be active until the potential partner signs the agreement.
CAN board member Peter Lee said he was concerned the new programs would compete with similar programs through Maricopa County. However, Rode said CAN officials refer people to the county regularly for assistance.
“Sometimes it’s months before they get help,” she said. “We don’t believe we are in competition with the county, we are just trying to help our people here in Sun City.”
CAN will begin its annual fundraising campaign with letters being sent to past donors beginning Monday, Nov. 1, according to Duncan. The campaign helps to keep the agency’s finances balanced as it comes at the end of the calendar year.
“We are in a deficit right now, but most of our income comes from this campaign so this is normal,” he said.
He added donations from clubs, churches and other organizations were down about 50% this year because of COVID-19’s continuance.
Lee reminded residents that under new Internal Revenue Service rules this year if they take money from their IRAs, those funds can go to a charitable organization and not be taxed. However, if that is done the donation cannot be applied as a state tax credit.
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