United Way of Bristol TN/VA announced a new partnership with the cities of Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee, to help families affected by COVID-19.
United Way will administer the CARES grant dollars to help residents of the two cities with utility bills, electric, sewer, water and gas.
“Many times, when families have fallen behind on their bills, assistance from one agency is not enough to stabilize their family, and this will allow us to be an additional resource to help them do that,” United Way Executive Director Lisa Cofer said in a news release.
Residents in need can call the United Way office between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each family must have been affected by COVID-19 and will need to complete an application and provide documentation to qualify for help.
The partnership was made possible through an additional round of Community Development Block Grant coronavirus funding to both cities as part of the CARES Act. Bristol Tennessee staff members presented a proposal to the city’s Community Development Advisory Committee to deploy these funds through a partnership with United Way. The committee approved recommended program guidelines, which were then formally adopted by the Bristol Tennessee City Council through an amendment to the city’s CDBG action plan for 2019-20.
“For years, the United Way of Bristol has been one of our most valued partners in bridging gaps for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Bristol Tennessee Mayor Mahlon Luttrell. “With so many Bristol families experiencing unprecedented economic hardship, we feel that leveraging the experience and dedication of the United Way is the most efficient way to put these dollars to work in service of our friends and neighbors who need it most.”
On Nov. 24, Bristol Virginia City Council approved using the money to help residents. Prior to this partnership, City Manager Randall Eads had been seeking a source of financial resources to assist its residents with overdue utility bills during the pandemic, which led to its second round of CDBG-CV monies being allocated for this partnership, the release states.