SAN ANTONIO -- The City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services announced the availability of a new, emergency utility bill assistance online application on Wednesday.
- Online application replaces paper-based process
- Part of inaugural CivTechSA
- Helps prevent power and water service shut-offs
The online application simplifies the previous paper-based process by eliminating the need for residents to print and photocopy supporting documentation and mail documents to or visit the Willie Velasquez Center for assistance.
Instead, residents can now complete the application online and upload required documents using their smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera.
“We have found that most of our clients today have a smartphone, even if they don’t have a computer,” Human Services Director Melody Woosley said. “We wanted to make it easy for residents to use that phone to apply for the assistance they need.”
The new online application is part of the culmination of the inaugural CivTechSA residency program, a collaboration between the city’s Office of Innovation and Geekdom.
CivTechSA coordinated a 16-week residency in which city departments pitched their challenges to be solved by local technology firms.
The emergency utility assistance program helps the city’s residents avoid power and water service shut-offs.
The program processes over 10,000 applications annually, administering approximately $2.4 million in CPS Energy bill assistance and $400,000 in San Antonio Water Systems credits.
“The new online application system allows our staff to provide real-time updates to clients. When a family faces utility disconnection, time is of the essence. This application allows for faster communication with clients, to help complete their application and keep utilities connected,” Woosley said.
Additional benefits of the application include a self-service portal where applicants can check the status of their application, view the average processing time for the past 30 days, and receive automated notifications each time the status of their application changes.
“The majority of population growth over the next fifty years will occur in urban areas. Cities must invest in infrastructure and digital services to address this growth in a sustainable way.” CEO OF Kinetech Michael Guido said.