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The Rivermark Community Fund has directed its 2021 grant to provide $20,000 in utility bill assistance through the Oregon Energy Fund (OEF). The donation will support households in Clackamas, Gilliam, Hood River, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler, and Yamhill counties.

Amidst lingering financial challenges from the pandemic that range from global supply chain constraints and rising costs to staffing shortages and stagnant wages, many US residents face steep increases in the cost of heating their home and keeping the lights on this winter.

On July 31st, 2021, the Oregon state law prohibiting utility shutoffs for people who cannot afford their bill ended. Months later, as temperatures drop, countless households are facing economic uncertainty exacerbated by the need to adapt to more extreme weather conditions and stay warm through the winter.

President & CEO of Rivermark, Seth Schaefer, said, “In exploring candidates for this year’s grant, we agreed that assisting neighbors in financial crisis with paying their energy bill is an instrumental element of regional housing stability.”

“Considering that energy insecurity disproportionately affects Black, Latinx, and Native American households,” Schaefer added, “we believe these grant dollars will help advance housing equity and financial resiliency within historically marginalized communities. The impact will be significant, and the current conditions make supporting this cause more relevant than ever.”

"1 in 4 Oregonians struggle to pay their energy bills every year, and thousands cut back on expenses like rent or food to do so, putting them at high risk of eviction and illness," said Brian Allbritton, Oregon Energy Fund's Executive Director.

"At Oregon Energy Fund, we believe that energy assistance is a powerful tool that can help struggling Oregonians achieve housing stability and lead healthy, joyful lives. We're honored to partner with Rivermark’s own Community Fund to support our neighbors in need at this critical time."

About the Oregon Energy Fund

The Oregon Energy Fund’s mission is to assist Oregonians in financial crisis with their energy bills in support of household stability. OEF is Oregon's only statewide energy assistance nonprofit and has provided emergency funding to more than 300,000 people since 1989, preventing utility shutoffs and ensuring low-income Oregonians don’t need to sacrifice food, rent, or medicine to pay for energy. Learn more at www.oregonenergyfund.org.