Eligible low-income renters aren’t aware of, or tapping into, sewer bill relief programs

Jan 25, 2022

One of the main programs meant to help low-income sewer customers in Northeast Ohio is expanding and allowing renters to apply, expanding eligibility to an estimated 40,000 customers.

The Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2018The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) announced these changes to its Sewer Affordability Program earlier this month. Up until this point, the discount program only provided the discount to low-income property owners, not renters with the bill in their own name.

The same hasn’t happened with renters’ water bills, however. Currently, the Cleveland Water Department still only extends its Water Affordability Program to homeowners. 

Cleveland City Council member Brian Kazy, chair of the city’s public utilities committee, says he hasn’t heard any discussion about extending the Water Affordability Program to renters, “but it’s definitely something we could look at,” especially with a new mayoral administration in office.

Sarah Johnson, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, says the city will be “evaluating” how effective the changes to the sewer program are and would review the city’s own policies for the water department.

Both the water and sewer programs offer a 40% discount for eligible low-income customers, but the discount only applies to those who have sewer and water bills in their own names.
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