MADISON – Some Wisconsin residents will be eligible for assistance in paying their water bills through a new program announced Wednesday by Gov. Tony Evers’ office.
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) will have $18 million available to assist Wisconsin families in paying water utility bills. The program was authorized as part of an emergency effort to respond to COVID-19 and marks the first time that these water assistance funds have been made available for Wisconsin residents.
“We know Wisconsinites are stretched thin with businesses facing supply chain challenges and Wisconsin families seeing costs in their everyday lives go up, and we want them to know that help is available, especially now during the winter season,” Evers said in a news release. “These critical funds will help alleviate some of the financial stress families are facing and ensure that folks have the resources they need to make ends meet.”
To date, $86,176,302 in benefits have been provided to 20,096 households for rental, utility and other housing assistance needs through the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) program, and since the start of the heating season in October, the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) has issued benefits to 74,765 households totaling $41,027,864. The average heating and electric benefits are $392 and $182, respectively.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) is working with Energy Services, Inc. (ESI) for LIHWAP application intake. Eligibility is based on household income, household size, and the household’s water and utility burden. Residents may be eligible if they earn 60 percent of the state median income level or less. Eligible applicants for LIHWAP first need to apply and qualify for WHEAP. Wisconsin residents interested in applying should call 2-1-1 or 1-800-506-5596.
Rent and additional utility assistance are also available through the WERA program. The DOA has partnered with Wisconsin Community Action agencies and ESI to accept applications and distribute rental, internet, and utility assistance. Wisconsin residents who wish to apply should call 2-1-1 or visit the DOA website for more information.