Program offers help for people behind on water bills

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign County residents who are struggling with their water or wastewater bills can get some help through the county’s regional planning commission.

The commission is taking applications for its latest temporary emergency assistance program. Here, residents can get a one-time payment to help pay their water bills or avoid a water shutoff. To be eligible, residents must meet the income guidelines of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP.

“Water, sanitation, and good hygiene are fundamental basic needs,” said Lisa Benson, the Regional Planning Commission’s Community Services Director, in a statement. “We are happy to expand our utility assistance to include water and wastewater services.”

Residents who plan to apply will need to have the following handy:

  • Proof of income for the 60-day period beginning with the date of application for all household members
  • Photo identification
  • For renters, a copy of your lease (or signed letter from landlord confirming renter status)
  • Proof of Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for all household members
    *All income-qualified residents of Illinois can receive bill assistance; providing an SSN or ITIN will speed up the process. (Individuals without an SSN or ITIN can still apply and the RPC will advise accordingly.)
  • Most recent water and/or wastewater bill issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their services directly)
  • If a resident has water service disconnected, a disconnection notice will be required 

You can see the income guidelines and apply on the regional planning commission website through May 31, 2022, or until funding for the program is spent. The plan commission’s Lisa Benson said at least $800,000 is available.

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