Each day, Valley Assistance Services gets about eight new calls with similar requests:

The caller is behind on housing and utility payments. Can the group help?

To assist with such needs, TEP recently provided a $10,000 donation to the group, a Green Valley-based social services and health organization that serves seniors and families in Green Valley, Sahuarita and surrounding communities.

“A lot of people are really behind and struggling,” said Chris Erickson, the organization’s Executive Director.

Adriana Mariñez, TEP Local Affairs Representative, learned about the great hardship in the community from Erickson, who serves with her on the Better Together Southern Arizona Coalition board. Mariñez worked with TEP’s community investment team to encourage staffers to apply for a grant.

“I am grateful to work for a company that supports its customers during times of need. I especially appreciate TEP’s support of Valley Assistance Services, which plays a critical role in my community, particularly since the onset of COVID-19,” Mariñez said.

Since March, the agency has seen a 12-fold increase in applications for housing and utility expenses. At the same time that the number of clients has increased, the requested dollar amount has gone up.

Normally, a resident will seek about $1,000 to $2,000 to cover a month or so. Now, the clients need far more just to stabilize their households, while struggling to find employment and coping with record heat. Some parents also need to stay home to care for children while school is out.

“I can’t thank TEP enough,” Erickson said. “This is very kind and very much needed for all the people down here.”

TEP’s donation is part of our company’s commitment to help our communities cope with the effects of the pandemic. TEP, along with our sister company of UniSource Energy Services, pledged a combined $1 million donation for bill payment assistance and other coronavirus relief efforts. Half of that donation went to Wildfire, a nonprofit agency that helps low-income families pay energy bills.

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