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San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, California Assemblymember Todd Gloria, city officials and representatives from Service Line Warranties of America gathered at the Miramar Reservoir on June 30th to announce the launch of a new program – Help Two Others San Diego (H2O SD) – to aid low-income residents with water utility bills.
The program is the brainchild of Wilson Kennedy, a San Diego Public Works employee and now program manager of the new initiative. The H2O SD program received its first major funding with a $150,000 donation by Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA). The donation by SLWA, made at the June 30th event, also celebrates the continuation of San Diego’s participation in the NLC Service Line Warranty program for another five years.
Mayor Faulconer commented,
The H2O Program allows us as a city, as San Diegans, as a community to come together as neighbors and make a difference in neighbor’s lives.
Assemblymember Gloria, who was previously a San Diego city councilmember, continued,
Like all good things in this town, city employees, elected officials, the private sector and our non-profit partners came together with what we want to announce today, the H2O Program, and so when folks fall on hard times, we can help give them a way to make ends meet.
The H2O SD program will provide low-income residents with a $100 bill credit once a year. City officials expect to be able to initially help 500 families annually. Residents will qualify for the funds through the program administrator 211 San Diego, who also provides resources for local families in need.
California state law requires that government-run utilities can only charge customers for the direct cost of providing utility service. The San Diego City Attorney’s office determined that the only way to provide help for economically disadvantaged residents was via donations, thus the H2O SD idea was formed.
Kennedy hopes that the launch publicity and initial $150,000 funding from SLWA will help motivate individuals, local companies and philanthropists to make additional donations to establish a stable program into the future.
Kennedy personally donated $500 to demonstrate his commitment to the initiative. Kennedy commented,
Growing up, my family benefited from low-income assistance programs and now this is my way of giving back.
Kennedy also hopes to leverage the Miramar Reservoir, a popular recreational facility, as the location of an annual 5 or 10K run to benefit H2O SD.
Speaking on behalf of SLWC, Myles Meehan Senior Vice President of Public Relations noted,
SLWC and our parent company HomeServe have as one of our core values to give back to the communities we serve. So to mark the next chapter of our partnership with San Diego, we are pleased to make this donation to help jump start the H2O SD program.
Cities interested in details of the H2O SD program can visit the City of San Diego’s website to learn more.