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Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (Fresno EOC) is now accepting applications for a new emergency program to help families pay overdue water bills. The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is designated for households that are in danger of losing or have already lost their water services. But it’s temporary, so there is a limited window of time for people to apply.

LIHWAP 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, 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.

Michelle Tutunjian, Fresno EOC’s Chief Operating Officer, says, “Our residents throughout Fresno County face rising costs. Plus, many low-income households have taken a financial toll due to the COVID pandemic and continue to struggle with paying for basic needs like water. We are grateful for LIHWAP funding which is critical to Fresno County households to help pay off unpaid water bills accumulated during the pandemic.”

Eligibility Requirements – See website for full details.

  • 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.

Click here to apply for LIHWAP through Fresno EOC.

About Fresno EOC Energy Services

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 Weatherization, LIHEAP, and now LIHWAP.

For media inquiries, please contact Claudia.solis@fresnoeoc.org.

 

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