Allegan County residents who need help with their water bills now have more help with the expansion of the county’s Low Income Housing Water Assistance Program.
“Access to safe water and sanitation directly impacts an individual or family’s health, even mortality,” says Lisa Evans, executive director of Community Action of Allegan County
. “Ensuring safe water for all people is a necessity. Clean water and health care is a basic human need and people should not hesitate for any reason to ask for a hand up.”
Being able to wash hands with clean water is “a basic foundation for health and wellness,” she says.
COVID-19 and beyond
The program started during the COVID-19 pandemic when access to safe, clean water was especially important, Evans says.
However, she says, it remains important, and state dollars are being used to expand the program. Starting this month, water and waste water assistance is available to residents countywide, regardless of who their water provider is. Residents may also apply for assistance multiple times, and the annual cap on aid is now $3,000.
Community Action is also working to expand that further to include wells and septic tanks, Evans says. The nonprofit, which administers much of the county's assistance programs, is also looking to state and local partners to continue to expand the program in other ways, she says.
“That has been an ongoing need in our community for some time,” Evans says of the rural county.
To qualify residents must have a past due water or waste water bill or have received a shut off notice and earn 200% or less than the federal poverty line (e.g.; $27,180 for a single person, $55,500 for a family of four). Households receiving food assistance such as SNAP, SER, or TANF qualify without a shutoff notice.
To apply for assistance, find out more about qualifications or for general information about aid in Allegan County, call Community Action of Allegan County at 269-673-5472.
Community Action also operates on the “no wrong door” policy, Evans says, and when someone calls about water assistance, they can find out about a number of other programs available to help them.
“That’s the beauty of the warp-around services model,” Evans says.
Enjoy this story? Sign up
for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.