On June 4, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) launched the new Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) established under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that will help low-income households and families afford water and wastewater services during the Coronavirus pandemic. Along with funding provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, LIWHAP will offer $1.14 billion to help residents pay their water bills, avoid shutoffs and support household water system reconnections related to non-payment.
LIHWAP provides grants to states, territories and tribes to work with private owners and operators of public water systems and treatment. Although Congress established LIHWAP as an emergency program to help states respond to the coronavirus pandemic, ACF is directing states to model LIHWAP after the existing Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), meaning county governments functioning as local LIHEAP agencies might also be responsible for administering this new program. In 13 states, county governments either fully administer the LIHEAP program or share that responsibility with local community-based agencies.
To date, ACF has released $166.6 million – 15 percent of total funds allocated for LIHWAP – to support the establishment of the program. Click here for additional details on the new program.
NACo will continue to monitor implementation of LIHWAP and the role counties play in administering these vital water and wastewater services.
- LIHWAP Landing Page
- HHS LIHWAP General Information PowerPoint
- HHS LIHWAP Administrative Costs and Use of Funds PowerPoint
- NACo Blog: Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issues initial guidance for low-income water assistance program