Help to Others, better known as H2O, was established in 2018 by the City of Hot Springs Board of Directors. Initially, around $2,000 was donated by individuals to start the fund. Through the H2O program, utility customers are able to donate to the emergency utility relief program on their monthly bills, but participation in the program has been limited since it began. At the moment, the H2O fund is depleted and utility assistance is currently not available.
Recently, the City developed a new online donation form in order to simplify the process of signing up for monthly or one-time donations. Hot Springs Municipal Utilities customers can now go to www.cityhs.net/h2o and indicate how much and how often they want to donate to help fellow residents in need of emergency assistance. Once the form is submitted, users will be redirected to a confirmation webpage and the donated amount will appear on the user’s monthly utility bill. Customers also have the option of signing up to donate on their paper bills. Donations can be changed or deleted at any time by contacting 501-321-6880.
"Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, our Advocacy Services anticipate that many community families will experience financial distress, including an inability to pay the water bill, and water is vital to curb the spread of this virus," said Kim Carter, executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic. "The community health study released earlier this year by Levi Hospital states that the number one health issue in Garland County is poverty, which we know has been exacerbated by our current pandemic. Now, more than ever, the H2O program needs those who can add a few more dollars to their monthly water bill so that we, as a community, can offer our struggling neighbors some much needed assistance. At the moment, there are just no available funds. We hope this new, convenient way to sign up online will restore the fund both for the times we’re in and for the future."
When available, H2O funds provide emergency utility assistance to residential customers who find themselves in a position where they cannot pay their bill and will either soon have or already have had their water disconnected for non-payment. The City’s administrative partner, Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic (CCMC), screens applicants to ensure they meet the program’s criteria. If approved, CCMC’s Advocacy Services then administers funds up to 75% of the required amount needed to restore or prevent utility services from being shut off. The customer receiving assistance would be responsible for the remainder of the bill. Only one assistance payment may be made per calendar year. For more information about the H2O program, visit www.cityhs.net/H2O-QA.