Seattle, WA – Beginning today, representatives for the Utility Discount Program (UDP) will be available to process applications for the program at the Seattle Financial Empowerment Center. The program offers up to 50 percent off monthly utility bills for Seattle residents that qualify. This new service is part of the Mayor’s commitment to double enrollment in the program to 28,000 by the end of 2018.
“Even as our economy grows, thousands of Seattle families struggle to make ends meet,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Our minimum wage is on the rise, we are working to reduce the cost of housing, and we must do more to help families pay their utility bills. By working with the helpful counselors at the Financial Empowerment Center, we know we can spread the word and get more folks enrolled to receive these discounts.”
“The Utility Discount Program is critical for Seattle’s working families and individuals to get and stay current with their utility payments, said Catherine Lester, Human Services Director. “By co-locating UDP services with the Seattle Financial Empowerment Center we are not only increasing efficiencies in our financial assistance programs, we are also making these programs accessible to the Seattle residents that need them most.”
The UDP is available for residential City Light and Seattle Public Utilities customers only and does not apply to residences used for business purposes. To qualify, a family of four must earn a yearly income at or below $59,292. Income guidelines can be found here.
With funding from the City of Seattle and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation the Seattle Financial Empowerment Center was launched in April 2014 in partnership with Neighborhood House, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help diverse communities of people with limited resources attain their goals for self-sufficiency, financial independence, health and community building.
Neighborhood House operates the full-time central hub in Rainier Vista – a redeveloped low-income housing neighborhood – and four satellite locations. Most sites offer counseling in multiple languages, including Vietnamese, Somali, Nepali/Hindi and Spanish. The FEC sites are:
- Neighborhood House (Main Location)
- North Seattle College – Opportunity Center for Employment & Education (OCE&E)
- Renton WorkSource
- Wiley Center at Greenbridge
- YWCA Opportunity Place
While visiting the Financial Empowerment Center, residents can check their eligibility for other city benefit programs such as reduced cable TV service, reduced internet and phone service, and the $20 Car Tab Rebate that was just started in June of this year. Clients are also encouraged to take advantage of other FEC programs including obtaining a free or low fee bank account, a free credit report, debt management & consolidation for qualified customers, free tax preparation and assistance building saving plans.
The Financial Empowerment Center will have Utility Discount Representatives available on Tuesdays from 9 to 4. Interested parties should check appointment availability by calling 206.923.6555 or by checking the website at fec.Seattle.gov.
The Seattle Human Services Department is one of the largest contributors to Seattle’s safety net as it provides $99 million in funding through 522 contracts to nearly 200 agencies that support Seattle’s most vulnerable residents each year. The department works closely with its community partners, including other public and nonprofit funders and service providers, to understand current and emerging human service needs, and to create and invest in a comprehensive and integrated regional human services system.