ST. LOUIS — An assistance program is helping St. Louis residents pay their utility bills.

With bills piling up, the Carol Parker, Jennings resident, found help at the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County. The CAASTLC staff introduced her to the Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program.

“The program really helped my family get caught up. Now, we are all the way caught up current and moving forward. It was a great help,” said Parker.

Georgie Donahue, the director of program administration at CAASTLC, said they received applications every day from applicants about their water being off. 

“People have these huge bills in excess of $1,000 because they’ve been unable to pay them,” said Donahue. “Now, there is some help for them.”

LIHWAP offered a one-time payment for applicants’ water and sewer bills from November to September. The maximum amount is $750. The payments can assist with disconnection or reconnection fees. The threat of disconnection, or past due and current bills. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria and income guidelines, you can get signed up. 

“It takes a big burden off people’s shoulders when you know that you can get help with your water bill,” said Donahue. “You’re not going to have to worry when you go home with your kids, turn the water on and nothing comes out.”

CAASTLC collaborated with Missouri American Water and Metropolitan Sewer District to spread the word about the program.

“Probably about 30,000 customers are eligible and they’re not participating because they don’t know it’s out there,” said Bess McCoy with MSD Project Clear. “We want to make sure people know, especially now when they’re making tough decisions about which bills, they can and cannot pay, that there is help out there. There is a relief for your water and sewer bill.” 

“We know it’s hard for customers and there’s a lot of people who may be embarrassed or don’t want to admit that they have help,” said It’s very discrete. If you need help, get it. That’s what the money is for. Samantha Williams with Missouri American Water.

Parker’s family is grateful, and she said she’s encouraging others to apply.

“Apply, please. CAASTLC has been a wonderful help to us,” she said.

For more information on the program and how to apply: https://mydss.mo.gov/utility-assistance/lihwap