On Saturday New Hanover County officially kicks off a new water assistance program to help residents who can’t pay their water bills.
WHQR’s Sara Wood reports Help 2 Others will launch with a day-long community telethon to solicit donations to help those without water service.
Donations brought in from the telethon will be distributed to local nonprofit agencies to help residents who can’t pay their water bills for reasons such as sudden illness, unemployment and unexpected personal crises. County Spokesman Charles Smith says the telethon is the beginning of a larger initiative.
“After the kick-off event we plan to come back together and determine what type of strategy or other initiatives year-long that will continue to solicit funds for the Help 2 Others program.”
Smith says households without water and sewer create a serious public health hazard. While the county doesn’t have a goal for the telethon tomorrow, Smith says the county hopes to raise enough money to wipe the slate clean of all the unpaid bills.
He says while New Hanover does have emergency assistance funds set up for those in need that money dries up quickly.
“As with years past, those funds have gradually depleted. We find our emergency assistance funds smaller today than they have been in years past. So, this is certainly an addition to that and hopefully we’ll be able to make our emergency assistance funds through the Department of Social Services go a little bit further.”
The idea for the program started in January by Commissioner Rick Catlin who cited the issue as a major public health hazard.
Visit the Help 2 Others web site for more about the telethon.