LOS ANGELES — Dale Jung is going door-to-door to make sure families living in low-income neighborhoods are aware of the money available to them.
"It’s really gratifying to do this type of work," Jung said.
He works for the group LAANE – a coalition of community groups that looks to improve underserved neighborhoods. Jung says meeting customers face to face is crucial to building trust.
"It makes a huge difference. It really does because people are cynical, and they’re incredulous about these programs," he said.
Jung has been passing out flyers to as many people as possible in the Westlake community in Downtown L.A., telling them about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's utility grant.
To qualify for the $500, you must have an active residential LADWP account, have a loss of income related to COVID-19, or the stay-at-home order, and meet LADWP’s low-income discount requirements.
Annual income for a 1 or 2 person household must be $34,480 or less, and a family of four can’t make more than $52,400.
"Our public affairs group has sent more than 700 emails over the last week or so, so customers should check their email accounts," said Ann Santilli, Chief Financial Officer for LADWP.
So far, more than 15,000 people have applied since the window opened on November 2, but that’s well short of the 100,000 households the utility wants to help. In comparison, close to half a million people applied for the Angeleno Card in its first week.
"People may have been focused more on the election activities and stuff, and busy, so now hopefully they can turn their attention to these emails that we’ve been sending out, and apply," Santilli said.
The LADWP is not shutting off water or power right now for people who can’t pay their bills due to the pandemic, but it is working with customers to come up with a payment plan. The $500 checks will be mailed out in late December to those who qualify.
"Hopefully it helps a good chunk of people and then also gives awareness to low-income programs," Santilli said.
As for Jung, he’s proud to pound the pavement and get the word out – not only to help residents, but to also remind them they’re not alone.
Apply for the LADWP Cares Grant here.