New Funding Available for Customers with Overdue Water Bills

A new temporary program called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) announced by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) will provide funding assistance to eligible OWASA customers with overdue water bills. OWASA put in place a moratorium on service disconnections due to non-payment in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That moratorium remains in place, but OWASA customers who have water bills that are 60 days or more past due (and would otherwise be subject to service disconnection) are now able to access these new funds. Until funds are exhausted, LIHWAP funds can be used to pay off 100% of an eligible customer’s overdue water bill.

To be eligible to receive this assistance, households must:

  • Have bills that are 60 days or more past due
  • Have at least one US citizen or non-citizen living in the household
  • Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level

Households that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Work First Services, or have received assistance through the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, are automatically eligible to receive this benefit. All funds will be sent directly to OWASA, and we will notify customers that their overdue balance has been paid.

Applications are available here or you can contact the Orange County Department of Social Services. For information about current OWASA bill status, please call (919) 537-4343.

Beginning January 1, 2022, households that need assistance paying their OWASA bill but are not 60 days past due may begin applying for financial assistance. For these households, LIHWAP funds are limited to $600.

Households can apply for funding through September 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted. This is a temporary funding assistance program funded by federal COVID relief funding.

More information on the program is available from the North Carolina DHHS.

Article originally published in December 2021