Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get more than one assistance?
unfortunately, Due to limited funding, we must limit assistance to one payment per program year for each Washington County household. You will be eligible to apply again on October 1, 2023, and we encourage you to do so. During the previous two years we had extra resources from the Federal Covid Relief funds, and we were able to help households multiple times throughout the year but now, with funding down to pre-Covid levels, our goal is to serve as many unique households as possible. We deeply regret that we do not have the resources to meet the tremendous needs in our community.
We encourage you to contact your utility if you have not already done so. Most utilities offer some form of assistance program in terms of payment plans or even bill discount programs for income-qualified households. Also please visit Community Action’s webpage to learn what other programs are available to the community.
What if I have a shut off or I am disconnected?
If you are at risk of disconnection and have turned in a completed application and have a active “Time Payment Plan” with your utility company and a 24 hr disconnection or you are already disconnected please call 503-615-0771 extension #2.
Please contact your utility provider and make arrangements. If your application is in our system waiting for processing, let them know.
- Try to make any payment. Something small is better than no payment. Even before the pandemic PGE would value payments of $5.00 as attempts to pay, which works in the clients favor if they end up facing disconnection. Reaching out to PGE early when you are struggling is a better option than avoiding them. They have some flexibility in the disconnect process.
- PGE can request but cannot demand a payment up front to start a TPA, however they can bill the client for the initial payment.
- If you have not turned in a completed application with documents please do so as soon as possible. Go to link to complete an online application and submit your documents.
- If utility provider still cannot work with you and you have a 24 hr disconnect or are disconnected…please call 503-615-0771 x2 and leave a message on the shut off line that you have a shut off.
How much help will I receive?
Energy programs are designed to help with your heating/cooling costs. It is not intended to pay the entire amount of your bill. Payment amount depends on various factors such as size of your household, annual gross income, and household heating source.
How is the payment made?
Once we determine eligibility, payment is made directly to the utility vendor (oil, propane, wood, electric or gas company).
- If heat is included in rent, applicants can be paid directly.
- Direct payments can also be made to applicants who have already purchased their winter supply of fuel and have provided receipts showing purchase.
I request a mailed application and have not received it?
Requests for a mailed application should arrive 2 to 3 weeks after submitting request.
My utility says they didn’t get the payment.
We notify your utility company the same day that your application is processed. However, it can take 4 to 6 weeks before the payment is reflected on your billing statement. Since the utility company is notified the same day that we processed your application, any past due or shut off notice are canceled right away. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 503-615-0771.
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. Once screened, we 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 then 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.
- Whomever is listed on the account and in the household must be financially responsible party, not just information access only.
- If you are unable to have an adult member of the household listed on the account as customer or co-customer, we will be unable to provide energy assistance due to state and federal funding requirements.
What if I have utility debt in collections?
To be eligible for assistance, your household must have an active utility account in Washington County in the name of an adult household member. Any debt in collections cannot be assisted due to it is not an active utility. Once you establish an active account you can apply for assistance, but any collection debt would not be covered.
Do you help with water?
Currently Community Action no longer 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?
A social security number is not required to qualify for all energy assistance programs. If at all possible, you should list social security numbers on your application, not having social securities numbers listed can limit the funding available for your household.
What if I am disabled and can’t come to an in-office appointment?
Community Action’s Energy Assistance Program 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 an Energy Assistance Mailout Program Application.
What if i normally get an application mailed to me and my address changed?
If you are part of the Energy Assistance Mailout Program, please call 971-615-0771 and leave a message with your name and new address or go to this link to fill out your application online.
Do you have garbage assistance?
Community Action does offer some assistance for households that live in the unincorporated Beaverton and Hillsboro areas. Please follow this link to submit request for help.