Water Department launches low-income assistance program

Water Department launches low-income assistance program
The Kenney administration announced that the Philadelphia Water Department will launch a low-income assistance program that offers payments starting at $12 per month and debt forgiveness after two years of on-time payments. Under the new model, payments will be tied to a household’s income, not water usage. Households with an income under 150 percent of the federal poverty level, as well as those struggling with hardship, such as the loss of a job or being a victim of domestic violence, qualify for the program. Officials hope that the expanded assistance program could lead to higher overall collections. Roughly 40 percent of payers are behind on their water bills, for a total delinquency of about $262 million, according to the water department. “This is the most progressive collection strategy for water in the country,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, who in 2015 led the effort to pass enabling legislation for the program through City Council. “If we want to maintain our high home-ownership rate, this is one of those things that is hugely important.”
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 6/19/2017

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