Low Income Household Water Assistance Program: More Options for More Families

We are pleased to announce an additional resource to assist families with their water and wastewater bills. Through the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), eligible households statewide can receive up to $1,800 in water assistance, depending on their need. Assistance includes water service reconnection, past-due debts, and future bills.

LIHWAP is a temporary emergency assistance program created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, with additional funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Arizona was awarded nearly $20 million to assist households through September 30, 2023. While similar to existing assistance programs, LIHWAP expands assistance eligibility to households statewide, regardless if they are renters or homeowners.

Providing Water Assistance in Addition to Rent and Utility Support

While households can receive assistance for water and wastewater services through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, participants of ERAP are only allowed to receive a maximum of $3,500 a month for rent and all utilities for up to 18 months. Households that exhaust or are ineligible for ERAP may qualify for financial assistance with water utilities through LIHWAP.

Providing Water Assistance for Homeowners

Although homeowners are not able to take advantage of ERAP, they can utilize the new Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) administered by the Arizona Department of Housing. Homeowners can use HAF funds for the purpose of preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures; homeowner loss of utilities or home energy services; and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship. If additional resources are needed after receiving HAF benefits, homeowners can continue to receive the help they need through LIHWAP.

Approaching Complex Situations with Comprehensive Solutions

DES is home to more than 40 programs and services that work together to provide comprehensive services to Arizona families. We understand that those we serve have complex situations, often with multiple barriers impeding their ability to reach their potential. The need for rental, utility and water assistance happens concurrently, and there may also be a need for food assistance, shelter, and more. Through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, we are able to distribute funding to help families keep roofs over their heads and ensure the continuity of their utility services. LIHWAP is another resource by which we can help those in need.

Michael Wisehart