Residential water assistance program to help lower water bills

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Income-eligible residents can apply to receive up to $1,000 from the Great Lakes Water Authority’s suburban Water Residential Assistance Plan to fix minor plumbing issues that lead to high water bills.

The program also helps income-eligible residents apply for financial assistance with their water bills.

The Great Lakes Water Authority formed in Jan. 1 with Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties sharing regional authority and control of the former Detroit Water and Sewage Department.

Income eligibility is based on 150 percent of the federal poverty level or below based on a 90-day look back from the date of application. Proof of home ownership or tenant responsibility for the water bill, as indicated in the lease, must be provided.

For FPL guidelines and eligibility, based on household size and income, go to healthcare.gov/glossary/federal-poverty-level-FPL.

The City Council passed a resolution authorizing the city to participate in the GLWA suburban WRAP through March 17, 2017, or until funds are spent, if longer.

City Administrator Mark Kibby explained that WRAP provides water bill assistance of up to $1,000 per household per year through two payment options. One provides residents with monthly installments of $25 a month for 12 months, while the other provides $700 for households behind in their water bills ($350 at the six-month point and $350 at the 12-month point).

Residents also can receive up to $1,000 to repair minor plumbing problems that can lead to expensive water bills.

Households must have a documented water usage 120 percent above the average usage to receive a referral for a Home Water Conservation audit.

Low flow toilets and shower heads, indoor and outdoor leaky faucets, and easily accessible pipe joint leaks may be available under WRAP.

Emergency repairs, plumbing for sewage and waste water, clothes and dishwashers, pipe repairs behind walls or underground, and repairs in areas that pose an environmental or structural risk are ineligible.

In addition to bill assistance and water conservation initiatives, WRAP helps residential customers navigate resources and move toward self-sufficiency.

Locally, the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency administers GLWA’s suburban WRAP, for which $1 million has been allocated for the first budget year.

Kibby said the GLWA hopes to maintain the program for multiple years.

For more information, call 313-386-WRAP (9727) or go to waynemetro.org/wrap.

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