Member Input Needed as NACWA Continues Engagement on Low-Income Water Assistance Program
NACWA staff joined the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) last week at their virtual annual winter meeting for a discussion of clean water utility perspectives on the federal Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which was created in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
NEADA’s membership includes the state offices that are charged with implementing the LIHWAP program at the state level. LIHWAP’s implementation, stresses and successes to date, and prospects moving forward were a focus for their winter meeting alongside their traditional focus on energy assistance.
NACWA staff discussed priorities and concerns that we have been hearing from our member agencies and our goal to transition this emergency relief into a permanent, reliable assistance program for low-income water customers by leveraging lessons learned and relationships built through this emergency process into a program that can be sustained and functional for all stakeholders moving forward.
Input from NACWA members on how the current LIHWAP program is working is critical to our continued advocacy on this issue. NACWA has heard varying reports about the success of the program to date, but we need more information to ensure utilities get access to the funds in the most efficient manner possible. Please reach out to Kristina Surfus, Managing Director of Government Affairs, to let us know if your utility’s customers have been able to benefit from this program, how implementation is going in your state, and other thoughts regarding the future of an assistance program.