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The Low-Income Household Water Assistance 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 to construct the LIHWA Program for the state. Oregon has received $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.
OHCS expects community action agencies to begin local administration of LIHWA assistance beginning in January.
General information and updates can be found on the OCS website.
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.
OHCS has recorded our LIHWA engagement efforts with a variety of stakeholders to date. Those meeting recordings are included below:
LIHWA OPUS & Program Training (December 2)
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. Required income documentation is similar to that of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Eligible water and wastewater utilities include those that 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 past-due amounts and current charges. Households who 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 beginning in January 2022.
Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program Documents
Program Operations Manual
LIHWA Allowed and Disallowed Bill Charges
LIHWA Vendor Agreement
Approved LIHWA State Plan for Oregon
LIHWA Landlord Authorization Form
Water Utilities by CAA Territory
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