Mayor Scott, DPW Distribute $15.87 Million in State Grant Funding to Provide Water Bill Debt Relief
Thursday Aug 24th, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Over 75,000 Baltimore City, County Residents to Receive Assistance
BALTIMORE, MD (Tuesday, August 24, 2023) - Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Department of Public Works Interim Director Richard J. Luna announced that 75,811 Baltimore City and County residents who accrued water bill debt during the COVID-19 pandemic will receive debt relief credits on their upcoming water bills. DPW is mailing letters to notify the eligible City and County residents who will receive the debt relief credit.
These debt relief credits are funded by a $15.87 million grant made available from Maryland’s State and Local Fiscal Relief Fund award under the American Rescue Plan Act. DPW was selected as one of 19 water systems throughout the state that applied for and were awarded funding from the Maryland Water Assistance Relief Program.
“The financial impact of COVID-19 took a toll for many people in the Baltimore area, and, together, we’re still working to recover,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This grant funding will offer so many Baltimore families the financial peace of mind, and go a long way in easing or eliminating one of the hurdles they may face. We’ve specifically targeted this to ensure the funds ends up in the hands of families where it will make the most difference. I am grateful to have great partners in Governor Moore and our state lawmakers who continue to prioritize Baltimore’s working families, and took the action needed to make this much-needed grant funding available.”
This $15.87 million in grant funding will be credited to the eligible 75,811 Baltimore City and County residential water accounts with an overall average credit of $209 per customer.
Eligible customers will receive a credit for outstanding water bill debt accrued during the pandemic between Jan. 27, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2023.
“DPW is committed to connecting residents to programs that ensure water affordability,” said Interim DPW Director Richard Luna. “Customers who need additional help paying their water bills are urged to apply for financial assistance.”
The grant distribution has been prioritized for City and County customers currently participating in financial water assistance programs, Water4All, and the State Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
The remaining funding is distributed among residents who live in single-family low-income housing and then allocated to those who live in a Qualified Census Track zip code.
Nearly $9.2 million of the grant funding will be distributed to City and County residents who live in a Qualified Census Track zip code. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designates Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) for purposes of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.
DPW encourages residents to explore all available water assistance programs. Baltimore City residents can visit DPW’s Water Affordability Portal to determine which affordability program they may be eligible for, including the City of Baltimore’s Water4All Program, PromisePay payment plans, and the State of Maryland’s Low Income Household Water Assistance Program. Baltimore County residents can apply for the State of Maryland’s Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) for assistance.