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Arlington Thrive Helps Locals Pay Utility Bills as Weather Heats Up

arlingtonthriveWith Arlington in the middle of an electricity-draining heat wave, one local nonprofit is helping residents in need pay off electric bills.

Since July 2013, Arlington Thrive has provided more than $180,000 in utility assistance. In the month of June alone, it has helped almost 150 people nearly three dozen families different households.

“I imagine with the heat wave expected next week we will be helping even more people in July,” executive director Andrew Schneider said.

Almost half of Americans couldn’t afford an emergency expense of $400 without selling something or borrowing money, according to a report from the federal reserve on American households.

Schneider’s organization aims to change that.

“Arlington Thrive provides emergency same-day financial assistance to Arlingtonians in crisis working in partnership with social workers from the County and our social services partners like A-SPAN and Doorways for Women and Families,” he said. “Our largest areas of assistance are with rental assistance to help people avoid eviction and medical costs,” including doctor’s bills, prescriptions and dental assistance.

The organization provided nearly $475,000 in rent payments in fiscal 2015 between July 2014 and June 2015, helping prevent the eviction of almost 425 households, many of which had children.

Along with its daily emergency fund, Arlington Thrive also sponsors other programs.

Its Carter-Jenkinson Memorial Homeless Prevention Fund provides long-term assistance that the daily fund is unable to cover. Another initiative is its Dress for Work Success Program, which gives new professional work attire for clients who have completed Arlington County’s Arlington Works job readiness program.

In fiscal 2015, the organization received half of its income from Arlington County, with individuals providing 34 percent. The remaining 16 percent came from various businesses, civic organizations, foundations and faith groups.

“Arlington Thrive is a great example of a successful public-private community partnership that provides a financial safety net for our residents,” state Sen. Barbara Favola (D) said on the organization’s website. “I hope that successful model will continue for many decades to come.”

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