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Subject:   Project Share Coffers Are Empty - New Requests For Help Halted
For Immediate Release:   
5/15/2008  4:00:00 PM
For More Information Contact:
Scott Thomsen  (206) 386-4233


Project Share Coffers Are Empty - New Requests For Help Halted
Program helps those in financial distress pay electricity bills

SEATTLE - Project Share, a program that helps low-income Seattle City Light customers in financial distress to pay their electricity bills, has been forced to stop accepting new requests for assistance due to a lack of money.

A spring fundraising campaign for the relief fund drew $83,000, which was a 33 percent increase over contributions during the same period a year earlier. But even that generosity was not enough to meet the needs of all qualified applicants.

The fund is currently empty and Project Share has temporarily stopped taking new applications for assistance. Between 50 and 60 applicants are waiting for help.

"It's hard. If your lights are off and you're about to be shut off, it pains us to say go somewhere else," said Barbara Evans, a Project Share coordinator in the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens. "But we're coming down now to a point where there are so many people seeking help and only so many dollars. The resources are not keeping pace with the need."

Inflation and a slumping economy are among the factors cited by many of those who are seeking Project Share assistance for the first time this year, Evans said. Also, this is the time of year when electric bills for the late, colder winter months begin to appear.

"We're hearing from many people, 'My rent is going up, groceries are going up, gas is going up and my hours are going down,'" she said. "These are the new needy. "

All contributions to Project Share directly benefit low-income customers in financial distress. None of the money raised is used for administrative purposes. Contributions are tax deductible.

To qualify for assistance, a person must meet income guidelines based on family size. Assistance varies depending on a person's circumstances. The most recipients can receive is $250, plus up to $250 more in matching funds for any payments they make on their own.

The average Project Share pledge recipient is a single parent with two children, making less than $1,500 per month and living in public housing.

Contributions can be made online at https://www.seattle.gov/light or by mail to:
City of Seattle/Project Share, Treasury Services, P.O. Box 34017 Seattle, WA 98124-1017
 

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