Southern Nevada, more than most communities, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. With over 33% of Southern Nevadans employed in industries that will be negatively affected by the pandemic, many hardworking people are struggling, whether that’s due to a lost job, a sick family member, or an illness that means they can’t leave the house. People are being forced to make tragic choices: how can I put food on the table, pay my rent, or make sure I have power in my home without an income?
When Charlie Dipinto, 68 years old, tells his story, his concerns may be familiar to many in our community. Matter-of-factly, Dipinto shares, “I live on a thousand dollars a month. Before I was hurt, it was a whole lot better than that, but c’est la vie.” He adds, “I was very close to having my utilities shut off. I’m not used to that. I always paid my bills on time… Things changed.”
Fortunately for Dipinto, he’s a recipient of United Way of Southern Nevada and NV Energy’s Project REACH. Project REACH –- Relief through Energy Assistance to Prevent Customer Hardships – was established to provide energy assistance to vulnerable adults 62 years and older, medically fragile individuals, and Reserve and National Guard members who meet income guidelines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, NV Energy is proud to expand this assistance to support all Nevadans that meet income guidelines until funds are expended.
Dipinto explains, “the biggest thing they do is they provide funds, which they have done for me for a couple of years, to pay a power bill, either gas or electric.” He adds, “it’s been a serious helping hand for me.”
Project REACH was made possible last year through a generous donation of $500,000 from the NV Energy Foundation. The half-million dollars in funds came specifically from NV Energy shareholders and not from the utility company’s customers. In 2018-2019, UWSN and NV Energy were honored to help 2,337 vulnerable adults with their utility bills through Project REACH and distributed a total of $589,615.40 to qualifying individuals.
To learn if you qualify for Project REACH and apply for assistance from one of eleven partner agencies, please click here.