Frequently Asked Questions
How often can I apply for assistance?
In general, each household is eligible to apply for assistance one time between October 1 – September 30. Households experiencing crises such as sudden loss of job or benefits, medical emergency, or domestic violence are eligible to apply for a second time. Please visit our website regularly for updates. At times we receive extra funding and can provide additional assistance.
What if I am disconnected?
If you are at risk of disconnection and received a notice from your utility, here are the steps to take to get help:
Turn in a completed application for utility assistance. The fastest way is through our online link here.
Please contact your utility provider as soon as possible. They need to know you are working with us, and they may be able to make arrangements to keep your services on and help with a payment plan. If your application is in our system waiting for processing, let them know.
If the utility provider still cannot work with you and you have a 24-hour disconnect or are disconnected…please call us at 503-615-0771 x2 and leave a message.
How much help will I receive?
Energy programs are designed to help with your heating/cooling costs. If you qualify for assistance, your minimum assistance amount will be $250.
Payment amount depends on many factors such as size of your household, household's gross income, and the amount of your bill. Additionally, the amount is also dependent on what funding we have available at the time you apply.
What can I expect after I turn in my application?
Once you turn in a completed application with all income documents and ID's, your application will usually be processed in 4 to 6 weeks. Once your application is processed, a payment commitment will be given to your utility, and you will be mailed a receipt. We will only contact you if your application is missing items or we mail you a receipt. Missing documents will delay the processing of your application, so please respond to any requests as soon as possible. Please wait 6 weeks before inquiring about the status of your application.
Can I apply by mail?
Yes. We can provide energy assistance services via mail to homebound residents of Washington County. Please call 503-615-0771, extension 3 and leave a message so we can mail you a paper application. Please wait 2 to 3 weeks after submitting request by phone for application to arrive. In October we send out a large mailing for seniors and some disabled individuals who applied the previous year. If you have moved, please contact us to update your mailing address.
My utility debt is a barrier to housing, what can I do?
If you have utility debt (PGE, Northwest Natural, City of Forest Grove Electric, West Oregon Electric) and it is causing a barrier to obtaining housing in Washington County, you may contact us at 503-615-0771 extension 1 to be screened for eligibility. We will need an application with income and ID's for all adults to be prequalified. We then can write a letter to the potential landlord explaining that you have been determined eligible for energy assistance and that Community Action will be able to address the utility debt as soon as you take possession of the unit. Once you have an active utility account, we can process your application for assistance.
What if the bill isn’t in my name?
An adult member of the household must be listed as the customer or co-customer on the utility account(s). If your landlord requires that the utility account stay in their name, please provide a copy of your rental agreement, or a letter from your landlord explaining why. We can work with the utility company if your name is not on the utility account because of a domestic violence situation.
What if I have utility debt in collections?
Any debt in collections cannot be assisted because it is not associated with an active account. To be eligible for assistance, your household must have an active utility account in Washington County in the name of an adult household member. Once you establish an active account you can apply for assistance, but any collection debt cannot be covered unless your utility is willing to move the collection amount to your bill at the time of processing.
Do you help with water bills?
Currently, Community Action offers federal water assistance. There are some small funds or discount programs offered through the water companies. To find out more click here
What if I don’t have a Social Security Number?
If you do not have a Social Security number, you are still encouraged to apply, However, not providing a Social Security number may limit the amount of assistance you are eligible for.
What if I need in-person assistance?
Community Action’s Energy Assistance Program can provide in-person application assistance for individuals who find it difficult to fill out an application on their own. Please call 503-615-0771 extension 1 and talk to a live person to set up an appointment.
Do you provide assistance with garbage bills?
For residents of unincorporated Washington County (not located in a specific municipality), Community Action can help you sign up for a discount program on your garbage bill. Please follow this link to submit request for help.