Marina Coast Water District is committed to assisting our customers in every way possible, even when that assistance is not directly administered by the District.
The agencies and programs below are not intended to encompass all assistance available to Monterey County residents but may provide our customers a convenient resource to begin searching for the program that best suits their circumstances.
California Expands Eligibility for Low-Income Water Bill Assistance to Include Relief for Current Bills
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program expansion increases the number of households eligible for residential water and wastewater bill assistance throughout the state
The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) today announced the expansion of eligibility for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) to include all eligible low-income households, regardless of whether they are current on their bill or have a past due balance. LIHWAP is a limited term, federally-funded program that provides financial assistance to help low-income Californians struggling to pay residential water and wastewater bills.
"California recognizes that water and wastewater services are essential for public health and well-being, and the department is committed to assisting low-income Californians in need of financial support to keep their water flowing," said CSD Director David Scribner. "This expansion of eligibility to include households with current bills will provide much-needed assistance to Californians impacted by higher costs of living and struggling to pay their water bills."
"California households struggling to make ends meet are often disproportionately impacted by the cost of basic necessities like power and water," said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. "This program can act as a safety net and help relieve the financial pressure some low-income households face by providing critical assistance to help pay their water bills."
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Previously, eligibility for one-time water bill assistance under LIHWAP was limited to low-income households with a past due balance on their water or wastewater bill and at risk of disconnection or disconnected from their services due to nonpayment. With this expansion in eligibility, qualified low-income households will be able to receive a LIHWAP benefit even if they are current on their water bill. This expansion in eligibility will help ensure more low-income households have access to this important source of financial assistance for their water bill.
BACKGROUND: LIHWAP was established by Congress in December 2020. California was allocated $116 million in one-time funding for LIHWAP to help reduce the burden of water and wastewater costs for low-income households.
CSD administers LIHWAP in partnership with a network of community-based local service providers. To find the local service provider in your area, view income eligibility levels, and learn more about how to apply for assistance, visit https://csd.ca.gov/waterbill.
Eligibility for water and wastewater bill assistance through LIHWAP depends on a variety of factors, including household income, availability of funding, place of residence, and water or wastewater utility provider. Income eligibility for the program is 60 percent of the State Median Income and varies depending on household size. A water utility must be enrolled in LIHWAP to receive direct payment of LIHWAP assistance and in order for a customer to participate in the program. Not all water systems can accept LIHWAP payments for current bills. A list of water systems enrolled in the program, and those capable of accepting payments on current bills, can be found here. Customers can contact local LIHWAP service provider for questions about eligibility and how to apply.
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Under the umbrella of the California Health and Human Services Agency, CSD's mission is to reduce poverty for Californians by leading the development and coordination of effective and innovative programs. For more information about CSD and its programs, please visit www.csd.ca.gov.
Monterey County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
If you have been adversely affected by COVID-19 in our community, you may be eligible for rent and utility assistance. United Way Monterey County in a joint effort with the County of Monterey, will be providing financial help to qualified tenants who have lost income or have experienced a reduction of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will be offered to the community starting March 16th.
For more details about the program please click on the link below.
California's COVID-19 Rent Relief
CA COVID-19 Rent Relief will help income-eligible households pay rent and utilities, both for past due and future payments. The federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides funding to support the program and tenant (renter) protection laws signed by Governor Newsom.
For more information about the program, please click on the link below:
California Lifeline Telephone Program
The California Public Utility Commission's (PUC) California Lifeline program provides discounted basic residential (landline) telephone services to low-income households.
You can qualify for California Lifeline if you (or another person in your household) are enrolled in an eligible public-assistance program. You can also qualify if your total household income meets the California Lifeline income guidelines. For more information, please call your telephone company or the Lifeline Center at 866-272-0349. You can also visit www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/1540
California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) provides a 20% discount on monthly PG&E bills to qualifying low-income customers. Contact PG&E at 866-743-2273 or their website at www.pge.com/care/ for more information.
Catholic Charities provides immediate assistance for people facing rent/eviction situations, utility shutoff, food and lodging needs, and other emergency situations. For more information contact 831-722-2675.
Central Coast Energy Services
Central Coast Energy Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization which provides energy conservation, consumer education & advocacy, home improvement, utility assistance, job training, and other services to people in need. We serve Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.
Help may be obtained by calling our toll-free number at 1-888-728-3637. You may leave your full name, mailing address, home phone number, and daytime phone number and an application will be mailed to you within 2-3 business days. Instructions on receiving Emergency service are on the recording. This method of service allows us to serve many people with our limited staff.
P.O. Box 2707
Watsonville, CA 95077-2707
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) offers customers with PAST-DUE water bills that may be eligible for a one-time water assistance benefit of up to $2,000. Call Central Coast Energy Services: (831) 726-8817 for more information. Eligibility is based on household size and income.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a direct payment to an eligible client's utility bill to help offset the cost of heating or cooling their home. This assistance is available once per calendar year for gas and electric, propane or firewood expenditures. HEAP also offers budget counseling services for low-income households.
Fast Track provides assistance to low-income households that are in a crisis situation. Examples include a household that has received a 24- or 48-hour disconnect notice or service termination by their utility company or an energy- related crisis of life-threatening emergency exists in the applicant's household. Any resident of California who meets the income guidelines and is responsible for energy costs in a residence may be eligible. More information is available online at http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/1540 or by calling 888-728-3637.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) sometimes called the Earned Income Credit (EIC), is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit.
To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a tax return. Contact the IRS at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-829-1040 for more information.
State of California Franchise Tax Board Homeowner and Renter Assistance
The Homeowner Assistance Program allows a once-a-year payment from the State of California to qualified individuals based on part of the property taxes assessed and paid on their homes. You may be eligible to file a claim if you are a United States citizen, designated alien or qualified alien when you file your claim and meet selected criteria.
The Renter Assistance Program allows a once-a-year payment from the State of California to qualified individuals based on part of the property taxes they paid indirectly when they paid their rent. You may be eligible to file a claim if you are a United States citizen, designated alien or qualified alien when you file your claim and meet selected criteria. Also available is the Nonrefundable Renters' Credit, which is a tax credit available to qualified California residents who paid rent on their primary residence.
For more information on any of these programs contact the Franchise Tax Board at 800-868-4171