300 in Lafayette fall into homelessness the last two months; how you can help with utilities

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UPDATE: LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The pandemic has caused thousands of Lafayette Utilities System customers to fall behind on their bills. According to the company, customers facing disconnects $1.2M in late payments.

Although some help will head the way of those in need of utility assistance, much more is needed.

“This is our community. These are our people, and we have had over 300 people fall into homelessness in the last two months, 111 children,” stated CEO of Catholic Charities of Acadiana Kim Boudreaux.

She said a homeless crisis is on the way Tuesday’s Lafayette City and Parish Councils emergency joint meeting.

“We have about 750 homeless people in Acadiana,” Boudreaux added. “We have 80 homeless shelter beds in Lafayette. You do the math.”

Not only are there not enough for the beds for the problem, but according to Lafayette Utilities System there’s not enough money for the problem that is coming.

Lowell Duhon, LUS’ interim director said, “4,295 (customers) are subject to disconnect. These are 60 day and over accounts.”

With the 60 day hold on disconnections expired, LUS is working on payment plans for the one-point-two million dollars owed.

District 3 City Councilwoman Liz Hebert identified $200K within Community Development to redirect as a start; however, Wednesday Lafayette Mayor-President Guillory admitted, “More help is still needed.”

With a single donation, Guillory promised $5,000 to LUS’ Share the Light program which brings in about $40,000 a year to assist people with their utilities.

“This is a critical time in our community, so every dollar helps,” urged Guillory.

You can add recurring donations to your monthly bill or dial 311-2 to get more information on one-time donations.

ORIGINAL STORY: LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- There are over 4,000 Lafayette Utility System customers in arrears and subject to disconnection, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said Wednesday. 

That amounts to $1.2 million owed to the utility system, he said.

In March, LUS announced that would waive late fees and disconnection for 60 days, but that deadline is approaching.  

LUS is urging those facing disconnection to contact the company and set up a payment plan, (337) 291-8280.  

During Lafayette Consolidated Government’s press briefing, Guillory urged resident who can afford it to make a donation to contribute to LUS’ Share the Light payment assistance program. 

Learn how you can donate here.  

You can watch LCG’s full May 20, 2020, press briefing below:

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