Local News

Give help, get help: Strangers help Raleigh neighbors pay water bills

Posted November 26, 2020 2:06 p.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2020 10:08 a.m. EST

Families in Raleigh who haven't paid their water bills during the pandemic risk having their water turned off soon, but there are some options.

The City of Raleigh said there are more than $7 million worth of unpaid water bills because of the pandemic, and water will be turned off if bills aren't paid by Feb. 1.

According to the city, the entire bill doesn't have to be paid by February, but some contributions need to be underway.

The city said 13,000 accounts are considered delinquent, which is double the number of delinquent accounts that existed this time last year.

Senior Utility Analyst Ed Buchan said many people are behind at least one month, but some are several months behind.

Aid is still available through WakeHelps, a utility bill payment assistance program utilizing $5 million in CARES Act funding. Additionally, Raleigh offers a Project Share program that allows other citizens to help pay off the bills of strangers.

Wake Forest father of two Scott Olsen used WakeHelps when he struggled to pay his bills this past summer after losing his job.

Olsen's advice? Accept help if you need it then help others when you can.

"When the time comes that I can pay it forward, that is first on my list," Olsen said.

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