Pritzker announces water assistance program

State News

CHICAGO (WCIA) – Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced on Tuesday a new program to help low-income families keep their water running during the pandemic.

The new program – the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) – builds on $327 million in emergency assistance launched earlier this year for low-income families facility difficulty in paying their utility and essential household bills. The program provides $42 million in shutoff avoidance for residents who face such difficulties.

The program is being launched at a time when nearly 20% of households paying for regulated water utilities are paying late fees and when 5% have been either shut off or are in danger of being shut off.

“Illinois is launching the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program – $42 million to help residents keep up with their water and sewage bills, avoiding utility shut offs and ensuring the roof over their head is also a home,” Pritzker said. “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. We’ve been able to help Illinoisans avoid 112,000 utility disconnections across the state and will be providing hundreds of millions of additional dollars in the months ahead.”

LIHWAP was authorized in this year’s state budget, supported with funds via the American rescue Plan and the Consolidated Appropriations Act. In addition, Pritzker signed into law two pieces of legislation that authorize two future permanent state-funded water assistance programs.

Eligibility for LIHWAP is based on income. To be eligible, families must demonstrate they are within 200% of the federal poverty line – for a family of four, this means combined income of $54,000 or less.

Applications are being accepted through August 31, 2023 or until funds are exhausted. To find out if you are eligible or to apply for LIHWAP, visit the DCEO website or call 833-711-0374.

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