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Financial Assistance Available for Stopping Water Shutoffs in IL

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Thursday, December 9, 2021   

CHICAGO -- Illinois residents struggling to pay utility bills can apply for assistance through the state, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced this week $42 million to help pay water and sewer bills.

Earlier this fall, Illinois allocated more funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant Program, which can help people with rent, utilities, food or other household expenses.

Nathaniel Booker, mayor of the Village of Maywood, said as residents work to recover financially from the pandemic, assistance goes a long way.

"This time last year in the village of Maywood, it was literally over 10% of our homes that received water shutoff notices," Booker recounted. "That meant literally, like, one house on every block received the water shutoff."

Residents making 200% of the poverty level or less are eligible. For a family of four, the limit is a little more than $4,000 dollars a month or $53,000 a year. Eligible residents can apply once between now and August 2023.

State programs have delivered $470 million dollars to more than 300,000 households since June 2020, but the administration added there are plenty of funds, some from the American Rescue Plan, still to go out.

Lieutenant Gov. Juliana Stratton said many families have been put into impossible situations since the pandemic.

"Some families may have a roof over their head, but they do not have enough money at the end of the month to prevent their lights or water from being shut off," Stratton noted. "Do they have to sacrifice a safe and healthy life by choosing one essential utility over another?"

Community Action agencies in the state are helping people apply if they are at risk of having services disconnected. They emphasized how urgent it is to have water and wastewater services. Residents can go to the Help Illinois Families website or call the state's hotline at 1-833-711-0374.


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