Funding Available to Help
Families Pay Water Bills

County Executive George Latimer

On January 12, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Westchester County Executive George Latimer were joined by social services and nonprofit leaders in Nyack for a press conference in recognition of “LIHWAP Awareness Day.” 

 

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a federally funded program administered by New York State designed to help low-income households reduce the balances on their residential water and wastewater bills. Since January 1, 2023, Rockland and Westchester residents have received over $2.5 million in LIHWAP funding. LIHWAP Awareness Day is designed to bring greater awareness of this program to families in Rockland and Westchester Counties who may be eligible for relief. 

 

County Executives Day and Latimer each made remarks and presented proclamations recognizing LIHWAP Awareness Day. They were joined by Rockland County Social Services Commissioner Joan Silvestri of Rockland County, Westchester County Social Services Commissioner Leonard Towns, United Way of Westchester and Putnam President & CEO Tom Gabriel, United Way of Rockland President & CEO Steve Papas, and Yudelca Fondeur, a direct recipient of LIHWAP funding who spoke about how this program has helped her and her family. Representatives from Veolia, which provides water services to nearly 500,000 residents in Rockland and Westchester counties, were also in attendance. 

 

In recognition of LIHWAP awareness day, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge was lit yellow – the color of hope – on the evening on January 12, 2023. 

 

“Since the program began accepting applications in December of 2021, more than 1,800 applications have been approved and a total of $2.3 million dispersed to our Rockland families. That’s nearly $1,300 an application,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “We know these last few years have been difficult for families, but this program is here to help you. I encourage everyone eligible to apply for this assistance.” 

 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Access to running water is essential to daily life – and with rising costs nationwide, securing access to this essential piece of daily life is growing more difficult for families already facing economic challenges. Bringing awareness to this program, through events like this, can help to alleviate some of the pressures facing Westchester and Rockland residents to make ends meet.” 

 

“The last few years have been challenging for people everywhere. Following an unprecedented pandemic, inflation is resulting in rising costs for almost everything,” said Karine Rougé, CEO of Municipal Water for Veolia North America. “This is particularly difficult for working families who may be struggling just to keep up with basic needs like water. Water is an essential resource, and we must do our part to help those who need it most.” 

 

 The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a federally funded program administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).  

 

The program can assist households who have past due bills for water and sewer services and can help prevent water and sewer services from being shut off. LIHWAP is a benefit based on the actual amount of water and/or sewer arrears, up to a maximum of $2,500 per water or sewer provider, or $5,000 if water and sewer services are combined, per applicant household. 

 

The OTDA has set up a secure Application Portal for households to apply for LIHWAP online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The program will expire on Dec. 31, 2023.