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CareOregon grant to Oregon Energy Fund will help local residents with electric bills

Dec 13, 2020, 08:00 AM

This week, CareOregon announced a donation of $20,000 to the Oregon Energy Fund. The contribution will be used locally in Multnomah County to help area residents get caught up on their electric bills so they can avoid power shut offs. OEF is working in partnership with Latino Network and Native American Youth & Family Center to screen residents needing financial support.

 “This grant from CareOregon will allow us to provide a meaningful increase of funding to our neighbors in Multnomah County,” said Brian Allbritton, Executive Director of the Oregon Energy Fund. “Energy assistance is particularly vital in the winter months, as more people struggle to cover the cost of heating their homes. These funds will help ensure families can stay warm and healthy this season without sacrificing meals or medical care.”

According to a recent 2018 study, one-in-four households in Multnomah County are considered energy burdened—meaning they spend more than 6-percent of household earnings on home energy costs. These numbers are even higher for households of color.

Being energy burdened puts families at risk of falling behind on bills and cutting back on essential expenses such as food and medication. A power shutoff can even lead to eviction, especially for families in low-income housing or those who underpay rent to try and catch up on their bills.

“We have a housing crisis in Multnomah County,” said Shawn DeCarlo, CareOregon shared learning and grant evaluation program manager. “Too many families are struggling to make ends meet. The fact that tenants can be evicted for having their power shut off makes the Oregon Energy Fund program an important tool for helping vulnerable families stay housed. We’re proud that this $20,000 grant will help alleviate some of the financial strains our neighbors are facing.”

Grant funds will be used to pay late electric bills for individuals facing power shut off. On average, the energy assistance payment is $341 per household, paid directly by OEF to the utility provider. 

“Studies show that utility hardship affects more people than most other ‘conditions of poverty,’” said Allbritton. “More than unemployment, more than falling behind on rent, even more than food insecurity. It is a pervasive and persistent problem. This donation from CareOregon is going to make a real difference to our neighbors this winter.”

About Oregon Energy Fund

The Oregon Energy Fund is a 30-year-old nonprofit that provides energy bill assistance to low-income Oregonians in support of household stability. Since 1989, OEF has helped almost 300,000 people pay their bills in times of crisis, ensuring that families in need don’t have to sacrifice food, rent, or medicine to pay for electricity. Through the direct service of energy assistance, we supply a basic need that prevents the triple traumas of illness, homelessness, and hunger, and gives children and adults alike the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives.

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