Oxford Utilities will help low-income households pay their bills and fees through a program with the Mississippi Department of Social Services.
Oxford’s board approved the service company’s participation in the program at a regular board meeting on Tuesday.
DHS announced that the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program received $13 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help income-eligible residents maintain access to water services. drinking water and sanitation until the end of September 2023.
Oxford Utilities will officially participate in the program which is locally operated by LIFT of Lafayette County.
“The client would go to LIFT with the information they need to apply, then [LIFT] would make the decision [on] if it meets their criteria,” said Rob Neely, managing director of Oxford Utilities. “If so, they will send us a voucher or notification saying [the customer’s] the invoice will be paid and we would operate as if we had been paid and continue on the road and wait for the payment to reach the account.
This program provides financial assistance to eligible households to manage costs associated with water bills, wastewater/sewer bills, reconnect fees and late fees.
LIHWAP is available to individuals and families who need help paying an outstanding bill, have overdue water bills, have had their service terminated, or have received notice that their service will be terminated within 60 next days. Households can receive LIHWAP grants for drinking water and sanitation services. Funding is paid directly to public service providers to support families who meet income requirements.
A similar program called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps pay electricity bills, is also underway. Mississippi residents who qualify for LIHEAP will also be eligible for LIHWAP.
To qualify for these programs, the applicant’s household income must be at or below 60% of the state median income. Mississippi’s median state income in 2020 dollars is $46,511, according to the United States Census Bureau.