The state has had a program to help low-income Iowans pay their heating bills for 40 years and is now adding one to help with water bills.
Christine Taylor oversees both programs — and says they’ve received 10 million dollars in federal funds for the water assistance.
“So if they have a disconnect notice, then we will be able to help them pay their bill to ensure they are not disconnected,” she says.
Taylor says they can also help those behind on the water bills catch up. “We will try to bring accounts down to zero as often as possible. There are some things we won’t pay for — such as diversion fees — so if someone was getting their water without really having an account to do it under, we won’t pay for something like that. But if it is past due bills, we will absolutely help with that,” according to Taylor.
She says you can sign up for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program at your area community action agency.
“They need to meet income guidelines, have a bill with a water company. And we can help with both drinking water and wastewater. We also need a copy of their Social Security card, or some other acceptable documentation,” she explains. Taylor says thousands of Iowans could be impacted.
“We’re starting to find out just how big of an issue it is. Just one of our agencies has spent 100-thousand dollars already this summer helping people with their water bills,” Taylor says. “So, we are looking forward to all of this funding that we are getting, so that we can help people as well.”
Taylor says the water bill issues are not new for many. “You know, it’s been an ongoing need, but the pandemic rose it to the level that I think everyone could see just how important it is. We absolutely need water to live — and the pandemic just brought that to a new level,” Taylor says. She says the program will pay the water companies and they do not send the money directly to the users.