Retired Homeowner’s Overcomes Utility Pipe Burst Disaster

Dec 12, 2021 | by By Patricia Flower, TSA

Originally published in the Wichita Eagle for Share The Season, 12/12/21

Carol is a retired homeowner. Her Social Security income is fixed, so she has all her regular monthly expenses planned. Any deviation from her budget would create a financial struggle.

Recently, an outside water pipe on Carol’s property burst. She didn’t notice the leak until she received a massively high utility bill. As any homeowner knows, when something around the house breaks it’s up to the owner to fix it. There was no way her budget could stretch enough to cover the cost of repairing the pipe and the cost of the utility bill. The situation was unmanageable.

Carol phoned the water department. She explained what happened and the representative adjusted her bill decreasing it significantly. After the adjustment, there was still a substantial amount due. The remaining balance was placed on a payment plan that divided it into 12 equal monthly installments. Each month, the installment amount would be added to her regular monthly charge. The following month she received her water bill and realized her budget could not bear the costs.

Overwhelmed, Carol came to The Salvation Army and filled out an application for Share the Season. The case manager completed an assessment and determined Carol qualified for assistance through the program. On her next visit, Carol provided the necessary documentation to process her application. The Salvation Army’s Share the Season program was able to assist her by paying some of the balance due. This payment lowered Carol’s monthly installment to an amount Carol is able to manage.

Share the Season, now in its 22nd year, is a partnership between the Wichita Eagle and The Salvation Army. Since its inception the program has helped over 3,900 families through community contributions. This year The Salvation Army will lead the fund-raising effort and manage the financial component of the program. They will also provide case management by meeting with people, reviewing their financial situation and trying to find the help they need. The Eagle shares the stories with the community, both to create awareness for those who can benefit from the program and to generate financial support.

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