$9 million available to Kansas residents to restore drinking water service

Kansas households adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may benefit from a new program to help restore or prevent disconnection of drinking water and wastewater services.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) is the administrating agency for the Emergency Water Assistance Program (EWAP), a new temporary federal program authorized by the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“The program’s sole focus is to restore or prevent disconnection of water to Kansas households,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said in a news release. “Kansas was awarded $9 million to support hardworking Kansas households who have gotten behind on their water bills because of the pandemic.”

Once the funding is exhausted, the program will end. Households may apply only one for the program and it is separate from other DCF assistance programs such as the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).

Applications for EWAP will be available Dec. 1. Kansans are encouraged to visit www.dcf.ks.gov/EWAP for information about qualifying and applying for the program. They may also contact their local DCF Service Center, Office Locator Map – Services (ks.gov).

An EWAP qualifying Kansas household:
• Currently disconnected from drinking water or wastewater services or have received a disconnection notice.
• At least one adult household member must be responsible for drinking water or wastewater costs incurred at the primary residence payable to either the landlord or to the water utility vendor.
• At least one household member must be a U.S. citizen or meet the lawful residency requirements.
• Combined gross income equal to or less than 150% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

An important partner for the successful distribution of the funding are water utilities companies in Kansas.

“Public water utility partnership is vital to the success of the water assistance program,” Howard said. “DCF is required to pay the public water utility provider, not the household. The sooner the utility company is in the system, the faster payment will be made on behalf of the household by DCF.”

Water partners are asked to submit a signed water vendor agreement and tax documents that can be found on www.dcf.ks.gov/EWAP.

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