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Program Overview

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a federally funded program that helps income-qualified families with water and wastewater costs. The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has been identified as the Grantee to administer the LIHWAP program from June 1st, 2021 – September 30th, 2023 for the state of Florida.

LIHWAP funds will be issued and administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which also federally administers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHWAP will closely model LIHEAP, utilizing the existing Community Action Network in addition to the current LIHEAP policies, processes, and procedures. 

LIHWAP will provide much-needed relief to low-income families that spend a high proportion of their household income on water utility services. Assistance to households will be accomplished by providing funds to owners or operators of public water systems or treatment works to reduce arrearages of and rates charged to such households for such services.  

The primary goal of LIHWAP is to retain continuity of water services to low-income households in Florida with an emphasis on prevention of disconnection and restoration of water services to households whose water services were previously disconnected.  This will be available for past, present, and prepayment.

Draft Federal Fiscal Year 2022 Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program State Plan for Public Comment 

The draft Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022 Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) State Plan describes how federal LIHWAP funds will be used to help low-income households maintain continuous water and wastewater service and assist with water and wastewater burdens. DEO will use comments received during the comment period to develop the final LIHWAP State Plan. Please visit the provided link below to read the draft state plan and a summary of the proposed water assistance program. 

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program FFY 2022 Draft State Plan

The Draft LIHWAP State Plan is available for public review and comment prior to submission of the plan to HHS. The 4-day comment period is Monday, August 2 through Thursday, August 5, 2021.

Written comments on the FFY 2022 LIHWAP Draft State Plan are encouraged and may be emailed to LIHWAP@DEO.MyFlorida.com or mailed to: Bureau of Economic Self-Sufficiency, Division of Community Development, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 107 East Madison Street, MSC-400, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-4120.

Funding Distribution

Approximately $75 million through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was allocated to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. Eighty-five percent of Florida’s $75 million in funding will be distributed by application through Community Action Agencies (CAAs). 

The LIHWAP supplemental funding will be available for expenditure through September 30, 2023.  Florida’s allocation will be distributed to each Subrecipient using the updated allocation formula and will be awarded and released through a Notice of Funding Award (NFA).  Each subrecipient will be required to maintain a separate budget for their LIHWAP NFA.

Program Goals and Priorities

  • Provide an overall emergency effort to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the public health focus of ensuring that low-income households have access to safe and clean drinking water and wastewater services.
  • Assist eligible households in meeting the cost of water and wastewater burdens. 

Potential LIHWAP Construct

  • Use existing LIHEAP processes, procedures, policies, and systems. 
  • Income Targeting – LIHEAP sector.
  • Delivery Method – Distribution to utilities or households upon application.
  • Administration – Similar administrative process as LIHEAP.
  • Allocate funds to LIHEAP sub-recipients for communities across the state. 
  • Track funding separately.
  • Two-year grant with the project ending September 30, 2023.

Resources

Vendor Identification Form

Additional Information

Please continue to check this page for updates as more details about the program become available. Water Providers interested in learning more and partnering on this program, may email LIHWAP@DEO.MyFlorida.com

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