Heat, most of us can’t begin to imagine going through a winter without it. 200,000 families in our region however, face the possibility of going without heat each winter. Anna’s family is one of them.
Anna is typical of those in need. A mother of two, she survives off of $12,000 a year. She works two jobs, proudly pays her bills on time, but she caught a bad break this winter. Her children were sick for two weeks with the flu. During that time her children were not allowed to attend day care and so Anna couldn’t work.
She found herself $500 behind at the end of the month and was forced to make a decision any mother would dread, pay for utilities or pay for food.
The Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF) provides emergency grants to families like Anna’s who are struggling to pay their utility bills. UESF provides one-time grants (up to $750 through a match) to help low income households keep the lights on, drink clean water and stay warm in the winter. UESF has so far distributed over $55,000,000 to 133,000 families in need.
So where does technology come in and how does Tech Impact help UESF?
One of the greatest advantages technology provides is speed, and nowhere is speed more critical than in dealing with inpiduals who may go without life’s basic necessities.
Tech Impact helped UESF through a strategic planning process that addressed the issue of speed at every step in the organization’s pipeline. From identification of a family in need, through the cutting of the check, then on to the education portion to ensure that families like Anna’s can be self-reliant, Tech Impact looked at the role of technology in every step of their business processes.
The first change Tech Impact is making will improve the reliability of UESF’s computer network.
The next phase of the project will use an on-line database to coordinate UESF’s eleven intake sites around the city. The on-line database will help expedite the application process and get aid to families like Anna’s more quickly.
The improved efficiency means UESF can focus on the critical service they provide. Ultimately they will be able to help more families in need, more families like Anna’s.
John Rowe, Executive Director, Utility Emergency Services Fund: “The Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF) needed a comprehensive technology plan in order to achieve substantial, and long overdue, upgrades to its technology. At the same time, UESF needed to accomplish the technology overhaul in a way that was both efficient and financially sound. Tech Impact provided this to us. Over the long term UESF will be able to work more efficiently, achieve the right results, and do it at a substantial cost savings. And every dollar we save results in a dollar that will help keep the utilities on for a low income family. Thank you Tech Impact!”