Alva to participate in low income water assistance program
May 21, 2023
Monday night, the Alva City Council took action to offer assistance on water bills for low income households. The council voted unanimously to approve signing a contract to participate in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). The federally funded program offers assistance to low-income households paying a high portion of their income for drinking water and wastewater service. The program is administered through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) and OKDHS determines the household’s eligibility and benefit amount.
City Business Manager Stephen Ford said the contract is the first step in the process. This makes Alva a participant in the program. Individuals may apply online where they can also check the eligibility requirement. If the application is approved, both the individual and the city will be notified. The payment will be sent to the city to be applied to utility bills for that household. Information such as household income is confidential.
Taylor Dowling asked if this was a one-time payment.
Ford said if the household gets $300 assistance, for example, then the city will divide the total by 12 and deduct that from the bill each month ($25 in this example). He said the LIHWAP amount will pop up on the city’s billing software and be very automatic.
There is another part of the program that provides emergency assistance in case someone is unable to pay their water bill and is about to be cut off. That is a separate application online.
Dowling asked if people go to the city for information about the program. Ford said information will be available there. People can also check out the program online. Applications must be done online. Remember the Alva Public Library has public computers and free wifi for those who might need them.