Pathway’s Water Assistance Program Designed to Help Residents with Water Bills

Claudia Rodriguez-Salazar

By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor

Pathway Toledo has obtained federal funding in order to start a Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LHWAP) designed to help income-eligible Lucas County residents with their drinking water and wastewater bills.”

“We are here to help if you are falling behind on your water bill, if disconnection is threatened or if you want to establish new service,” says Claudia Rodriguez-Salazar, Pathway’s director of Emergency and Empowerment Services.

The program, which has just recently started in 2022 after receiving the federal funding, will continue until September 30, 2022. Eligible residents are those whose incomes are at or below 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) who have been disconnected or have a disconnection notice, need to establish new service or want to transfer service.

Residents with a current medical certificate on file with their utility are not eligible to receive LHWAP assistance until the medical certificate protection expires.

Area residents dealing with water issues are often vulnerable to a host of other issues due to a lack of clean water and proper waste facilities, notes Rodriguez-Salazas. “It is a health issue that we encounter each and every day,” she says.

Each and every day for Rodriguez-Salazar means each and every day for 28 years – that’s how long she has been with the community action agency. She started with the agency under its original name – the Economic Opportunity Planning Association (EOPA) – as an outreach worker, then moved into case management before joining the planning department and eventually becoming director of community services.

“We are here with this program until September and we want to make sure that those in need reach out to us.”

Lucas County residents interested in using the LHWAP can contact Pathway, Inc at 419-242-7304. They will need to provide the following information:

  • Names of all household members;
  • Proof of citizenship or legal residency for all household members – such as Social Security cards or birth certificates;
  • Proof of income for all household members 18 years or older for a minimum of 30 days prior (for seasonal or self employed – provide proof of income for prior 12 months);
  • Copy of current water/wastewater utility bills – copayment may be required;
  • A valid photo ID for all adults;
  • If renting, lease agreement documenting responsibility of water/wastewater usage.

The maximum benefit amount for this program year is $1,500 for clients with combined wastewater and drinking water utilities and up to $750 for clients with drinking water utilities and $750 for clients with wastewater utilities.

Applicants do not have to apply in person, says Rodriguez-Salazar. “They can start online and we can verify information over the phone,” she says.

Eventually funds for the utility bills will go directly to the vendors, even if water is included in the rent – and the account is delinquent.

“We have the money. If you are falling behind, we are here to help. Call or go online and apply,” says Rodriguez-Salazar.