As the Omicron variant surges in Pennsylvania and affects people’s health and economic security, a new assistance program aims to help residents of the Commonwealth pay their water bills.
This week, Pennsylvania launched the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, a federally funded service to help households struggling to pay their water bills on time. The state received $43.2 million through the American Rescue Plan for the program.
Meg Snead, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, said access to clean drinking water and wastewater services is key to helping families live healthy lives.
“This program is for those who have past due water bills, had their service terminated or received a notice that their service will be terminated in the next 60 days,” she said. “Grants are issued directly to water-service providers, and families must meet income requirements.”
More information is available online at dhs.pa.gov/waterhelp. People can also visit a DHS county assistance office for support in person. Households can receive one grant of up to $2,500 for their water bills, and one grant of the same amount for wastewater services.
Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, who chairs the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, said consumers also should be having direct conversations with their utility providers to determine what assistance they might be eligible for to ensure essential services stay on.
“We know that there are households across the state facing the uncertainty and the stress of worrying about their utility bills,” she said, “including some who’ve never had to experience these problems before.”
Residents also may be eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, to help pay gas and electric bills.