Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Val Arkoosh announced that Pennsylvania intends to operate a water assistance program supported by federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) funding. Pennsylvania successfully expended all previously available funding and, with adequate reallocated federal funding, DHS can again make a meaningful impact to people who could benefit from this assistance.
“Pennsylvania is pleased that the federal government is recognizing Pennsylvania’s success in operating the first round of LIHWAP, and we are excited to distribute this assistance as soon as we are able,” said Sec. Arkoosh. “Access to clean drinking water and wastewater services is fundamental to our health and well-being, and 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.”
Pennsylvania is still awaiting a final report from the federal government on total funding that will be available. This funding will come from states that did not expend their initial allocation and is being reallocated to higher performing states.
LIHWAP provided assistance to Pennsylvanians with low incomes that met income requirements with grants in order to maintain access to both drinking water service and wastewater service. LIHWAP grants are issued directly to water service providers. In 2022, LIHWAP offered assistance to households that had past due water bills, had their service terminated, or received a notice indicating that their service will be terminated. DHS expects to receive information from the federal government in the coming weeks in order to begin setting an updated timeline and process for 2023 LIHWAP availability.
LIHWAP was originally established through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. In 2022, Pennsylvania received more than 129,000 applications and distributed approximately $43.2 million to assist families who lost or were at risk of losing water service in their homes.