(Jackson, Miss.) – Thousands of Mississippians won’t have to worry about providing water to their families through a new program from the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) has received $13 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help income-eligible residents maintain access to drinking water and wastewater services through the end of September 2023. This important resource provides financial assistance to eligible households in managing costs associated with:
- Water bills
- Wastewater/sewer bills
- Stormwater fees
- Groundwater fees
- Reconnection fees
- Late fees
- Lien removal fees (water-related)
LIHWAP is available for individuals and families who need assistance paying a current bill, have past-due water bills, had their service terminated, or received a notice indicating that their service will be terminated in the next 60 days. Households can receive the LIHWAP grants for both drinking water and wastewater services. The funding is issued directly to the utility providers to support families who meet income requirements.
Mississippi residents who qualify for LIHEAP Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will also be eligible for LIHWAP Low Income Household Water Assistance Program. Applicant’s household income must be at or below 60% of the state median income to qualify for these programs.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services works to serve aging and low-income populations with their utility assistance throughout the year through local Community Action Agencies.
“Access to clean drinking water and wastewater services are critical to a family’s daily needs,” said Robert G. (Bob) Anderson, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. “Many of our vulnerable Mississippians, especially the elderly, disabled, and families with small children, have difficulty paying their water bills. Our hope is to provide tangible help with today’s water bill to provide a lasting hope for tomorrow.”
Applicants may access eligibility through their local Community Action Agency or submit a Pre-Application through the Common Web Portal. This program is available nationwide, but services and funds are for residents of Mississippi only. There is no cap on the number of times a recipient may utilize the program. If eligible, families can be served more than once. The Community Services Division and the Community Action Agencies have created a benefits matrix to determine the amount they can receive during the year. Case by case basis. Complete application to determine the amount, frequency, and other eligibility issues.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor. Individuals without access to a computer may call the Community Action Agency (CAA) or Human Resource Agency (HRA) in their area. To find the agency nearest you, please visit https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/community-services/.
The dedicated staff of the Mississippi Department of Human Services is here to refer families for this assistance.
For more information and to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, visit https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/community-services/.