|TRENTON, NJ — Jersey Water Works (JWW) will hold a virtual evening session on the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) on Thursday, December, 8, 2022 from 6:00–7:00 p.m. The workshop will focus on expanding awareness of the water assistance program for low-income households and communities in New Jersey and explore opportunities for more long term solutions. Join the conversation with grassroots organizations and organizations that touch more deeply with consumers.
LIHWAP assists low- and medium-income eligible households that have difficulty paying their water and wastewater bills. It is funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services through the American Rescue Plan. In NJ, the Department of Community Affairs is responsible for administering this program. A LIHWAP grant will assist community members who have fallen behind on their utility (water and sewer) payments.
The December 8 webinar is the second installment of a two-part LIHWAP webinar series sponsored by JWW, which focuses on increasing awareness of this program, how to navigate the application process, and to discuss the opportunities around more long-term solutions. A number of eminent speakers will present on LIHWAP and discuss the need for water assistance in New Jersey and across the country, including:
· Larry Levine, Director, Urban Water Infrastructure and Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, Moderator (moderator)
· Fidel Ekhelar, Director, Office of Home Energy Assistance, NJ Department of Community Affairs
· Evelyn Liebman, Director of Advocacy, AARP NJ
· Mami Hara, CEO, US Water Alliance
Follow this link to join the webinar on December 8 at 6 p.m. ET.
The webinar will address the urgency of obtaining LIHWAP funding for community members. This is a one-time grant in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is currently no funding provided for the LIHWAP program in the FY2023 budget appropriation, but current funding is available until expended, or until September 30, 2023. The webinar will provide critical information on the limited assistance program, which can be indispensable knowledge for low-income households to access.
“Thousands of New Jersey families account for about $200 million in overdue water and sewer bills, putting them at risk of water shutoffs or even loss of their homes,” said Larry Levine, Director, Urban Water Infrastructure and Senior Attorney at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Many of these families are eligible for grants to pay off those bills, under the state’s federally-funded water assistance program, and water utilities must encourage customers to apply as soon as possible. This funding expires next year, and the state should commit to ongoing funding for the New Jerseyans who struggle to afford basic water service.”
Many resources are available to those who wish to learn more about the LIHWAP program, how to apply, and what utility-specific resources are available in New Jersey. For general New Jersey LIHWAP questions, contact the NJ Department of Community Affairs at LIHWAP@dca.nj.gov. Water and sewer customers anywhere in New Jersey can call the state’s Utility Assistance Hotline (800-510-3102) for information on how to apply and for help with completing the application. Customers can also get information from NJ211 by texting their zip code to 898-211. Additionally, residents of Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Salem, and Gloucester counties can receive help with their applications by emailing LightUp Your World, Inc or calling them at 856-817-2460 (office, English) or 856-206-8946 (mobile, Spanish). For information on other water assistance programs offered by certain utilities, visit the NJ SHARES website or call their toll free number at 1-866-657-4273.
Media inquiries can be directed to Jyoti Venketraman, cell phone (732) 877-9637.