Pritzker announces water assistance program for low-income households

State News

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a new round of COVID-19-related emergency housing assistance, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, at Abundant Faith Christian Center in Springfield, Ill.. Pritzker says he supports changing the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act to allow employers and others to bar people who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Pritzker says the act, which prevents forced medical treatment on those who have conscientious objections, “was never intended to cover a pandemic where we’re trying to keep people alive.” (AP Photo/John O’Connor)

CHICAGO (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new water billing assistance program Tuesday.

According to a press release, the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) will provide $42 million in shut-off avoidance for residence unable to pay their water and sewage bills.

The program builds on the $327 million in emergency assistance launched to help low-income families pay their utility bills. Pritzker said the funding should help families avoid shut-offs and keep a roof over their heads.

“Together with the $327 million I announced in September for energy bill assistance and the Community Services Block Grant Program, our total available funds for utility bills and other household expenses are at a record level,” Pritzker said.

According to the press release, the LIHWAP recognizes that economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on residents across the state. 20% of households are paying late fees, and five percent are shut off, or in immediate danger of being shut off.

Across the state, more than $470 million in household assistance had been made available to Illinois families, preventing 112,000 utility disconnects across the state.

Applications for the assistance program will be accepted through Aug. 31, 2023, or until funding runs out.

More information is available on the Illinois DCEO’s website.

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