As part of our ongoing effort to provide customers with sewer and stormwater bill assistance, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District announces it has reached its goal of enrolling 10,000 customers in its cost-saving programs.
The goal was established by the Sewer District’s Board of Trustees with a five-year timeline — from 2022 through 2026 — for completion.
“I am proud that the Sewer District has enrolled 10,000 new customers in its cost-savings programs three years in advance of its established timeline. This was achieved through diligent communications, a robust outreach program, and many great partnerships. We will continue this effort until every eligible customer is enrolled,” said Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, Sewer District CEO.
“Sewer District representatives spread the word about these programs through attending a variety of events, such as community ward meetings, school and senior citizen events, and more — in addition to hosting Utility Assistance Resource Fairs, where customers can apply for assistance and working closely with our partner organizations.”
In partnership with various elected officials, the Sewer District established the Utility Assistance Resource Fairs in 2022, hosting six events throughout the region and seven events in 2023. In addition to assistance for sewer and stormwater bills, other utilities including City of Cleveland Division of Water, Cleveland Public Power, First Energy, Dominion, City of Cleveland Division of Water Pollution Control as well as community organizations, like CHN Housing Partners, StepForward and Greater Cleveland Food Bank, participated in the Fairs. The Fairs provided an opportunity for customers to enroll in various programs and to speak with utility and community organization representatives. Over the past two years, over 2,200 customers have been served.
“The process for enrolling in multiple assistance programs can be daunting. The success of the Resource Fairs is a testament to the commitment from the Sewer District and our partners to serve our customers by making it a bit easier to get the help they need,” said Dreyfuss-Wells. “We encourage any customer who needs assistance to contact us. We are here to help.”
About the cost-saving programs
The Affordability Program is income-based and offers customers a rate reduction of 40 percent. Customers who are at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level may qualify. This includes renters who can show proof of their responsibility to pay the sewer bill. Customers can be enrolled in either the Homestead Program or the Affordability Program, but not both.
Crisis Assistance Program
The Crisis Assistance Program is available to customers affected by a major life event, such as sudden medical expenses, job loss, separation, or divorce. This program provides a one-time credit of half of a customer’s bill, up to $300 and are placed on a payment plan for the remaining balance. To qualify, customers must have experienced a hardship within the past six months and received a disconnection notice. No income requirements apply, and the program is open to both homeowners and renters. The program is administered by CHN Housing Partners. To learn more and apply, visit CHN online.
Summer Sprinkling Program
Regardless of income, all customers (homeowners) can take advantage of the Summer Sprinkling Program, which runs annually from May 1 through September 30. Water use often increases during the summer because of sprinklers and other seasonal activities, but most of this additional consumption does not return to the sewers. During the program period, bills are based on average winter water consumption or actual summer water consumption, whichever is lower. Those interested in applying can do so online or via a mail-in application.
Homestead Rate Program
Customers can receive a reduction in fees if they take measures to reduce the stormwater volume flowing from their properties. More information at neorsd.org/credits.
Eligible homeowners may receive emergency service line replacements and other plumbing repairs through CHN Housing Partners Energy Efficiency Services. To be eligible, customers must be homeowners in the Sewer District’s service area and meet income guidelines. The program is administered by CHN Housing Partners. To learn more, visit CHN online.