Debt Relief Helps Keep Water Flowing
Jeff Whitelow has been known for his profound ability to walk in the shoes of those in the most vulnerable communities and help bring vital information to those who need it most, in language they best understand. Taking a vow of poverty to personally assess the life of those most vulnerable in Chicago, enabled him to identify that water shutoffs from unaffordable rates and lead exposure are serious problems.
Through the Chicago Water Council, Jeff has championed the search for residents eligible for the new drinking water Utility Billing Relief (UBR) program in Southside Chicago neighborhoods and assisting them in enrolling into the program that forgives 100% of residents debts after one year of consistent payment.
The Chicago Water Council has been working diligently to promote the awareness of the UBR program, boots are on the ground identifying residents, qualifying them according to the UBR criteria, and lastly, assisting them in becoming a UBR member of the program. To date the Chicago Water Council has identified over 50 residents eligible for the program and helped enroll 20 residents while establishing partnerships with food pantries to meet our targeted members in generous volumes. Work is underway to reach out to other nearby neighborhoods, in the Southside of Chicago to further aid those in need and ensure public health for all Chicagoans.
Author: Brandon Tyus, Community Programming & Policy Associate