CLEVELAND — The need for economic assistance is ever-growing across Northeast Ohio.
Between the hurdles of the pandemic and inflation, many people are struggling each day.
A local non-profit is working to meet the need and just announced it is extending a critical water assistance program.
Step Forward is now actively accepting applications for their “Low Income Household Water Assistance Program”.
They actually just extended it until September of 2023 to meet the demand.
The state-run agency, Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, or LIHWAP, helps eligible Cuyahoga County residents with their water and waste bills.
So far, it has given more than $79,000 in assistance funds since last February.
The agency is ready to provide more funding to area residents.
To qualify for the water assistance program, residents must be at or below 175% the federal poverty lines, have a disconnection notice, been disconnected, in the process of establishing a new service or are paying to transfer service.
“We’ve seen so many new clients over the past six months to a year that have never sought assistance before. But because of the way things are going, they’re now asking for help. So we’re trying to remove that stigma that if you need assistance through one of these programs, that it puts you in a bad light,” Said Paul Billups, director of energy assistance at Step Forward.
If you need assistance and want to apply for Step Forward’s water assistance program— clients must schedule an appointment by calling (216) 350-8008 or online at stepforward.itfrontdesk.com. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Walk-ins are not accepted.
Residents with scheduled appointments should submit their documentation at least three days in advance of their appointment to receive assistance at the time of appointment.
Documentation can be submitted to the Step Forward drop box at 2203 Superior Avenue, through the online scheduler linked above, emailed to Heapdocuments@stepforwardtoday.org, or submitted online at energyhelp.ohio.gov.
Clients need to provide copies of the following documents for their appointment:
• Copies of their most recent water/wastewater bills
• A list of all household members and proof of income for the last 30 days or 12 months for each member
• Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members
• Proof of disability (if applicable)
For more information, click here.