United Way launches ‘Keep the Lights On’ to help Greenville County families facing utility crisis

United Way of Greenville County is introducing a new initiative to help people struggling to keep up with utility payments due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Working in collaboration with Duke Power, Greenville Water and Greenville County, United Way’s “Keep the Lights On” Fund will assist families facing the loss of utilities due to inability to stay current with their accounts throughout the pandemic. Currently, 8,000 Greenville County households collectively owe approximately $4 million in unpaid utility bills.

“The impact of COVID-19 on employment and the ability to afford basic resources has been extreme,” said Meghan Barp, president and CEO of United Way of Greenville County. “Many of our neighbors cannot afford to keep up with past and current bills and now face the prospect of losing these vital services. With winter approaching and thousands of students relying on internet services for e-learning, it is critical that we do all we can to help.”

United Way made an initial investment of $150,000 from the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund and has been awarded $1.2 million in CARES Act funding from Greenville County to support the initiative. To meet the unprecedented need, United Way is also asking the community to contribute to the cause. To make a gift, visit unitedwaygc.org/lightson.

Community members in need of assistance with utility payments are asked to call the United Way of Greenville County Community Resource Line at 2-1-1, or 866-892-9211. In addition to the Keep the Lights On Fund, resource line operators can connect callers to other available community resources, including area food banks, rent and housing assistance, employment, transportation, healthcare and more.

Make your gift today at unitedwaygc.org/lightson.