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Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWA)

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance (LIHWA) Program was established by Congress through the appropriation of $638M in the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 and an additional $500M in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. Federal administration is through the Office of Community Services (OCS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has been designated as the State of Oregon Grantee.

OHCS has been working diligently through a values-based planning process with water and wastewater utilities, utility associations, the Community Action Agency network, and culturally responsive organizations construct the LIHWA Program for the state. Oregon will receive a total of $13.8 million to provide LIHWA assistance to low-income households who have a high water burden. Payments will go directly to the owners and operators of water and wastewater utilities. Households will apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency.

OCS approved the LIHWA State Plan for Oregon, which OHCS submitted on August 9th, 2021. Anticipating several weeks to initiate grant agreements with the Community Action Agencies and vendor agreements with the water and wastewater utilities, OHCS expects LIHWA assistance should be available in January 2022.

For general information and updates from OCS, click here

Sign up to receive email updates and be sure to check the box for “Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program" to follow this program's implementation.

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance (LIHWA) Program is designed to provide low-income households with assistance for their drinking water and wastewater services costs. Households who are at or below 60% State Median Income (SMI) are income eligible for the program. Income documentation required is similar to that of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Eligible water and wastewater utilities include those who provide service to permanent residential communities. LIHWA assistance payments will be paid directly to these utilities on behalf of eligible households to reconnect services, avert disconnection of services, and pay arrearages and current charges. Households who rent and pay their landlord or management agent for water and wastewater charges are encouraged to apply, as they may still be eligible for LIHWA assistance.

Households seeking water and wastewater bill assistance should apply through their local Community Action Agency. LIHWA assistance is expected to be available in January 2022.​

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