Utility Bill Assistance

COVID emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)

The COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program is a new program providing rent and utility assistance to households experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which is administering this program, began accepting applications on March 15, 2021.

The program provides up to 12 months of past-due rental assistance, three months of prospective rent, and past-due residential utility services, including electric, gas, water, sewer, and garbage services. Applicants may also have access to a $300 internet stipend if qualified.

Who is Eligible?

Those eligible to apply include tenants who rent their home and meet the following conditions:

  • Tenants whose 2020 household income did not exceed 80% of the area’s median income
  • Households where at least one individual has qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income
  • Households where at least one individual has experienced financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus outbreak
  • Households with at least one member who is uncertain of where they will stay or may become homeless without housing assistance

Can I Get Help with My Utilities?

Yes, eligible households for CERA can receive utility assistance for tenant-supplied electricity, home heating (any type of fuel), water, sewer, and trash (if billed along with another utility).

Utility Assistance

Household SizesMaximum Total One Time Utility PaymentMaximum Future Utility Payment as a Credit
1-2 Persons$1,500$300
3-4 Persons$2,000$500
5+ Persons$2,500$500

How Do I Apply?

To apply for the program, and to learn more, visit the MSHDA website.

Home Energy Assistance 

  • Be Proactive - Contact us as soon as you know you will be unable to pay your bill on time so that we can assist you with payment arrangements or resources to other agencies that are providing financial assistance at this time..
  • Call 2-1-1 or click on www.mi211.org to learn about agencies in your county that may assist with your energy bill.
  • State Emergency Relief (SER) may help low-income households pay part of their heating or electric bills, assist in keeping utilities in service, or have service restored. The program is available year-round. Call your local Department of Health and Human Services office for information or apply on MI Bridges. Households must apply for SER assistance prior to receiving any Michigan Energy Assistance Program services.
  • The Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) works with households to provide supplemental bill payment assistance and self-sufficiency services to low-income residents statewide. At the time of SER application, applicants will be able to choose a MEAP provider to work with. A list of organizations that deliver MEAP services can be found on the MPSC’s website. MEAP grantees are all community partners with MDHHS and can help applicants to navigate the MDHHS application process.
  • Connect with an MDHHS community partner to help work through the process of applying for assistance.
  • Home Heating Credit qualified persons may receive a credit to help pay winter heating bills. Apply for a Home Heating Credit if you are low-income or receive public assistance or unemployment compensation. Eligible customers must meet guidelines based on household income, exemptions and heating costs. You must apply by Sept. 30 each year. The application form (MI-1040CR-7) can be requested from the Michigan Department of Treasury at 517-636-4486, or visit website at www.michigan.gov/treasury.
  1. Customer Service Department

    Physical Address
    1 Grand Street
    Coldwater, MI 49036

    Phone: 517-279-9531