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Assistance is available to help seniors afford utilities as Yuma, Mohave counties heat up

For older adults who live in more rural parts of western Arizona — think Yuma and Mohave counties — the heat can take a severe toll. 

Carol Brown is with the Western Arizona Council of Governments, which serves lower income seniors in remote areas.

“We have pockets where absolutely they could be very isolated, 30 minutes away from any kind of access or assistance if they needed it,” Brown said.

Another hurdle is simply the cost of staying cool. 

“Lots of times we meet folks that, because of their low income status and their fixed budget, they don’t want to run their air conditioning,” she added.

So Brown says they encourage them to cool at least one room in their home. There are programs that can offset costs, but online applications are another barrier facing some older adults. 

“They may not have the technology, own it, they may not have internet — either where they live it’s so rural that it’s spotty and unreliable, or they cannot afford to pay for internet. And they don’t have, perhaps, the knowledge on how to navigate an online application, which can be pretty tricky.”

Brown says it’s important that these older adults don’t stay isolated and that they someone checks in on them. “Because with heat illness, it can occur within 15 minutes that they can succumb to the heat.”

How to apply for utility assistance benefits

  • LA PAZ COUNTY: (877) 829-2264 — call any workday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A staff person will call you within two business days to complete Intake.
  • MOHAVE COUNTY: (855) 433-4989 — Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.
  • YUMA COUNTY: City of Yuma/Somerton/San Luis/Gadsden/Wellton/Tacna/Dateland (928) 782-3462 — Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Water assistance program

YUMA COUNTY:
City of Yuma:
(928) 782-3462 – Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.
If you have a RED BILL, call City of Yuma at (928) 373-5076 to be referred to WACOG.
City of Somerton:
Call City of Somerton at (928) 722-7344 to be referred to WACOG.

MOHAVE COUNTY:
Only for water bills related to evaporative cooling for bills incurred for the period from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Main lines for further assistance

  • MOHAVE COUNTY: (928) 753-6473
  • YUMA COUNTY: (928) 782-1886

 

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.