Several years ago the KID’s Board of Directors recognized that some KID customers might be at risk of losing their home to foreclosure if they couldn’t pay their irrigation assessment. Under State law, the KID has to foreclose on KID-assessed properties after three years of non-payment. In 2011, the KID put more focus and a higher level of participation in our Helping Hands program. Through this program, the KID found a way to help these customers ensure they keep their home and stay caught up with their irrigation assessment.
With the help of Community Action Connections, we are able to qualify customers, based on their income, for financial assistance with their annual assessment. This program is funded by external donations from the district’s rate payers and also by a designated percentage of the delinquency fees KID receives. Each person helped has a minimum amount that they are responsible to pay as well.
Because of the visionary leadership of our Board of Directors, KID has been able to help 121 customers with their irrigation assessment since 2011. That totals $39, 445.00 in assessments paid.
The goal of this program is to help those that are in the greatest need in our community. The majority of our Helping Hands recipients are seniors with income significantly below the poverty level. Having this assistance has helped them avoid non-payment on their account and the potential of losing their property.
We’ve since learned that our Helping Hands program is the only form of assistance for a water service or irrigation assessment in our area. This program was designed to have no impact on the customers who do pay their own assessments on time. We are very thankful when our customers contribute to the program, that includes a few that have received this assistance in the past, turned their financial situation around, and now pay a little more designated that to the program.
Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming need and success of our Helping Hands program, the Kennewick Irrigation District is unable to take any new applications for the program at this time. We have already pledged the full 2014 Helping Hands budget to eligible applicants. If additional funding is received, the program will be re-opened. We will post any changes in the program status on our website and at our office located at 12 W. Kennewick Ave.
If you wish to donate to the Helping Hands program, please contact the KID Finance Department at 509-586-9111.