LIHWAP Implementation Gets Underway; NACWA Member Update Webinar Held
Implementation of the new Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) has been gaining steam in recent weeks. Earlier this month, states learned their individual allocations of the total $1.138 billion available nationally and received access to up to 15 percent of their federal allocation for administrative costs to stand up their state’s program. NACWA has posted the allocations and their relative rank here.
Each state is now charged with developing its Work Plan, outlining in detail how they will implement their program. These Work Plans are due to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the end of July. Once HHS reviews and approves their plan, a State will be able to start making the funds available at the local level. Thus, while progress has been slow over the past six months since the funding was signed into law, implementation is now advancing relatively quickly.
NACWA continues to closely track and engage with HHS’s program rollout efforts. But in the coming weeks and months, with HHS now having provided its federal guidance to the states, territories and tribes, the key decisions regarding program structure and implementation will occur at the state and local level.
The funds will flow from the states to clean and drinking water utilities as credits to eligible customer accounts. Utilities are strongly encouraged to contact their state offices and local community action agencies, which will be helping identify eligible customers and implement the program, if you have not already done so.
On June 10th, NACWA held a webinar where members could hear the latest updates on the program, background and perspectives from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)—the long-running energy customer assistance program on which HHS is modeling this new water funding—and hear recommendations for what utilities can be doing to prepare. The webinar slides can be accessed here and the webinar recording can be accessed here.
Members with any questions, please contact NACWA’s Managing Director of Government Affairs, Kristina Surfus.