ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that $69.8 million in federal funding will be available beginning December 1 to help low-income New Yorkers pay past-due bills for drinking water and wastewater.

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program provides eligible individuals and families with up $2,500 for drinking water past-due bills and $2,500 for wastewater past-due bills to help them avoid service interruptions.

“As New Yorkers make their comeback from the devastating effects of the pandemic, struggling households should never be left wondering whether they will be able to afford critical utilities like water and sewer service,” said Hochul. “Over the course of the pandemic, utility affordability has too often become a prohibitive obstacle to the financial stability of a household. This assistance will help ensure New Yorkers do not have to worry about losing these basic necessities as they fight to make ends meet.” 

The program is targeted at low-income households, particularly those paying a high proportion of their income for drinking water and wastewater services. The program is expected to serve about 105,000 households. Funding is being targeted at those households with service bills that are at least 20 days past-due and will be paid directly to the utility. 

Eligibility is based on income, household size, and the past-due amount that is owed. For example, a household of four would need to have a gross monthly income of $5,249 or less to qualify.

Applications will be accepted online and by mail starting December 1. More information, including on how to apply, can be found on the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website.