Thursday, March 03, 2016

Detroit launches assistance program for water bills

Today, the new Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) launches to provide multi-tiered financial assistance to residential customers.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, as part of a regional program, offers an innovative assistance plan to help low-income residents pay water bills. The WRAP will provide qualifying customers at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($36,450 for a household of four) with help in paying current and past due water bills.

WRAP is a Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) regional program offered in several counties including Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb. The program is administered by the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency in Detroit.Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) Flier

The WRAP Benefits for Eligible DWSD Customers Include:

  • A $25 monthly bill credit for 12 months ($300 total);
  • Freezing customer's past due balance upon entrance into the program;
  • Customers who successfully make their monthly payments for one year will receive an additional credit of up to $700 applied toward the past due amount;
  • Households in the program with water usage exceeding 20 percent of the average household water consumption in the city are eligible for a free home water conservation audit;
  • Based on the audit, participating program customers may receive up to an additional $1,000 for minor household plumbing repairs; and
  • Participants may continue in the program for up to 24 months but must reapply annually.

The WRAP will provide Detroit residents with approximately $1.5 million of the $4.5 million allocated for 126 municipalities in seven southeast Michigan counties.

“This is a game-changer for the region,” said Gary Brown, DWSD Director who helped negotiate the terms of the contract and who sits on the six-member regional water authority board. “It is a very robust, comprehensive program that addresses all the issues I’ve seen in the past that caused people to fall out of a plan.”

Justin Wedes agrees. "The WRAP is a step in the right direction for a department that is showing positive signs of reforming itself,” said Wedes, a community activist with Detroit Workers and Builders and a vocal critic of the water shutoff program in the past. “I'm optimistic that this additional assistance for many Detroiters coupled with much-needed debt relief and wraparound services like plumbing assistance will help DWSD towards the urgent goal of providing clean, affordable water to all of Detroit."

To apply for the WRAP, DWSD residential customers must make an appointment with Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency at 313-386-WRAP (9727) or DWSD Customer Care Centers will refer residents to Wayne Metro who are eligible for the WRAP. If you do not meet the qualifications, you may contact DWSD at 313-267-8000 or visit a Customer Care Center to discuss your options, including the 10/30/50 Payment Plan.

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