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Utility Assistance Program to End for Remainder of Year

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EDINBURG - Families seeking utility assistance will have to rely on different non-profit agencies for assistance starting this week.

The Hidalgo County Community Services Agency is ending their utility assistance program for the rest of the year on Thursday.

The agency's director, Jaime Longoria, said the fiscal year is from January to December. He said that leaves a five-month gap for people in need of assistance.

"This was not unanticipated. This goes back to the numbers game. Over 100,000 families in this county that qualified, that are living under a 150 percent of federal poverty, and we have funding for about 6,000 families,” said Longoria. 

Longoria said the use of funds is a state issue.

"The state has what we call the 80 percent rule. They wanted to make sure all of these agencies across the state are 80 percent expended by the end of May, by May 30th,” he said.

Longoria reminded the public the agency will still provide payments for people who came in the first six months of the year.

"We're still going to cover their obligations, the promises that we made. We’re going to cover their bills during these high months. But any new applicants we cannot process at this time,” he said.  

The HCCSA director said other organizations that could help include Catholic Charities and other churches in the area. 

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