Water and utilities assistance is available for local low-income households

Published 1:07 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

The local Blue Grass Community Action Partnership (BGCAP) is offering two new programs to low-income households to help with water and other utilities assistance.

The Low Income Housing Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) will begin Jan. 10, but applications will be accepted through June 1, 2022 or until designated funds are depleted on a first-come, first-serve basis. It has two components, crisis and subsidy.

The Crisis Component can assist households that are up to 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, who are experiencing a water and/or wastewater crisis.

• Applicants must provide at least one of a disconnect/past due notice, disconnection notice, or an eviction notice for non-payment of rent if water service cost is included in rent. Benefits are paid directly to the household’s water service vendor.

• Benefits through the Crisis Component are limited to the minimum to alleviate the crisis, but will not exceed $800. Households can reapply each time they experience a crisis until they have reached their maximum benefits.

All applicants are required to supply the following documentation at the time of application:

• Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household.
• Proof of all household’s (all members) income from the preceding month.

• Most current water service bill (water and/or wastewater), including account number and name on account, statement from your landlord if water service expenses are included in your rent, statement from a utility company if participating in a pre-pay program.

The Subsidy Component allows households to apply for a one-time water service benefit ranging from $300 to $400 depending on income level, housing category, and water service benefit type. Participation in the Crisis Component will not affect eligibility.

BGCAP also offers a utility assistance program with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). This Coronavirus Response Program helps aid people who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and are in danger of having their utilities disconnected.

Utilities that may be covered in are water, sewer, gas and electric. Households can receive up to $250 per month for up to six months. Each household can only apply once for the duration of the program and must have an account that is behind or received a notice of disconnection between January 21, 2020 to the present.

There are no income qualifications, but no other federal assistance can have been used toward their bill for the time period the application is being made.

BGCAP Executive Director Troy Roberts said funding for this program will be available in January 2022.

“I would recommend that anyone that thinks they may qualify, make an appointment with their local Community Developer’s office,” Roberts said. “They will be able to answer clients’ questions as to if they qualify and what back-up documentation will be needed.”

BGCAP started 50 years ago to fight the war on poverty. They offer other programs that help the low-income population become self-sufficient, helping more than 2,000 people daily.