The application period for LIHWAP will open in June 2022 and benefits will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Payments can be applied to overdue bills for residential water and wastewater services accumulated before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum benefit amount is $2,000, and it is a one-time payment that will be directly applied to their utility bill.
According to data collected by the State Water Resources Control Board, around half a million Californians experienced water shutoffs in 2019 due to nonpayment, and hundreds of water providers charge rates that could be classified as unaffordable for low income households. LIHWAP Director Gilda Arreguin says, “With rising prices on everything from food to fuel, low income households in rural and urban Fresno County face barriers in paying their water and sewer (wastewater) bills. We want to help with that expense, so households can continue to purchase food and cover unexpected costs.”
- Households must meet the definition of being low income.
- Households must have a past due balance on their bill, also known as an arrearage. Applicants must provide a water bill, wastewater bill, or property tax statement with a past due amount.
- Client’s water or wastewater system must be enrolled in direct pay. Payments will go directly to owners and operators of water systems and cannot be paid to customers.
- Households must subscribe to a community water or wastewater treatment system. Those with private water wells and septic tanks are not eligible for assistance.
Locally, the program is overseen by Fresno EOC Energy Services, which also administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The one-time LIHWAP program will end in August, 2023.
To apply for LIHWAP through Fresno EOC, click here.
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Fresno EOC Energy Services’ goal is to make clients’ homes energy-efficient, comfortable, and safe. Services include replacing or repairing non-operable appliances, home repairs, health and safety, insulation, and other energy/water/money-saving measures. Programs include the Senior Emergency Utility Assistance Program, Weatherization, Statewide Solar Initiative, LIHEAP, and now LIHWAP.