Water Bill Program launched to reduce the burden of water debt for qualified residents

Long Beach Community Action Partnership and Long Beach Water Department are partnering to provide direct relief on some residential water bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting May 5, 2021, qualified customers who have been impacted by the pandemic can apply for a credit to their water bill.

Relief is offered to those households who qualify as low-income under the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The relief, funded by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) CARES Act, is provided on a first come, first serve basis, and applications will be made available on May 5, 2021. If qualified, 500 households could receive a flat benefit amount of $200 on their current or past due water bill charges. To learn more about the program visit lbwater.org/waterbillprogram.

The Long Beach Community Action Partnership launched their Community Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Alliance (CERRA) program in May 2020 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, allocating over $1 Million through community partnerships and direct aid. As low-income households struggled to provide basic needs before the pandemic, economic fallout from COVID-19 affects those households even harder.

Marisa Semense, who just completed her first year as Executive Director at the Long Beach Community Action Partnership, stated “We initially focused on food security, but as the health crisis raged on, we knew that utility debts would be of great concern when the moratorium lifts. We currently operate the LIHEAP program and felt water bill assistance is just as important and needed. We appreciate the Long \Beach Water Department’s immediate response and coordination to develop this program quickly.” With the panic that comes from loss of job hours or income altogether, LBCAP wanted to address urgent needs, but continue to support Long Beach residents in a manner that is sustainable.

While various moratoriums were created to prevent the displacement of thousands that were financially impacted by COVID-19, the Long Beach Water Department partnered with LBCAP, as they saw an increasing need for water customers to receive assistance during these difficult times. “The Long Beach Water Department is looking forward to this collaborative partnership with the Long Beach Community Action Partnership (LBCAP) to serve our community by providing much needed relief to those customers hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Frank Martinez, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. “It’s our responsibility as the Water Department to do all that we can to maintain the health and quality of life of our customers and community, and we thank LBCAP for providing the funding and administration for this program.

To learn more about what the Long Beach Community Action Partnership is doing to address the needs  of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, go to their webpage www.lbcap.org and follow on social medias Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LongBeachCAP.

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