Pennsylvania will continue a program, begun during the pandemic, that helps lower-income households who are struggling to pay their water bills, the Department of Human Services said Wednesday.
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, LIHWAP, assisted 117,000 Pennsylvanians in nearly 38,000 households in its first year, distributing about $43 million in federal funding.
That amount includes $460,468 allocated to households in Lancaster County, a DHS spokesperson said.
Nine out of 10 households assisted through LIHWAP were at risk of being disconnected due to past-due bills, DHS said.
Applications for Pennsylvania’s LIHWAP program closed in late October.
The federal government is continuing the program, and Pennsylvania will take part. The state is awaiting word on how much funding will be available before reopening applications.
The new money comes from states that did not expend their initial allocation and is being reallocated to states that performed better in distributing it.
“Pennsylvania is pleased that the federal government is recognizing Pennsylvania’s success in operating the first round of LIHWAP,” acting DHS Secretary Val Arkoosh said in a statement.
“… We hope to work with local and private water services providers to further expand this program and ensure that this assistance is reaching the communities it is intended to help.”
For more information about LIHWAP, including income limits on eligibility, click here.
(Editor’s Note: This article was updated Friday, March, 17, to add the figure for LIHWAP allocations in Lancaster County.)