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Gillibrand: Release Federal Funding to Help With Water Bills


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for continued federal funding for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) in the upcoming government funding bill. LIHWAP is a federal program that assists households whose drinking water and/or wastewater services have been disconnected, or are about to be disconnected, because of inability to pay. Since the program’s creation in 2021, LIHWAP has helped over 1 million households nationwide, including over 35,000 in New York, afford their water and wastewater bills. However, LIHWAP’s funding expired in 2023 and can no longer provide this critical assistance.

“The average household spends more than $1,000 a year on water bills. That’s just another expense families already struggling with the high cost of groceries, gas, child care, and energy bills can’t afford,” said Senator Gillibrand. “For these families, the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program provides a lifeline. It might be the only thing preventing their water from being cut off and protecting them from the devastating consequences of living with no running water. But funding for LIHWAP ran out last year, meaning that now, families who were relying on this assistance have nowhere to turn. That is unacceptable. I am calling on my colleagues to include continued funding for LIHWAP in the upcoming government funding bill to make sure no New Yorker goes without such a basic and necessary utility.”

Congress established and provided $1.1 billion for LIHWAP through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Since its creation in 2021, LIHWAP has helped more than 1 million households across the country maintain or restore water service. Nationwide, at least 13,000 water and wastewater systems in low-income, tribal, rural, and urban communities have participated in the program to date. However, LIHWAP was established as a temporary program and funding expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2023, ending a lifeline for families in need across the country.

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