New Kildee Initiative to Help Low-Income Families With Water Bills Passed Congress
FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced a new federal program to help low-income families pay their water bills and reduce their water utility rates.
As part of the recent coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, Kildee was able to secure $638 million in federal funding to create a new program, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to provide grants to states and tribes and help ratepayers. The Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program will provide much-needed relief to low-income families that pay a high proportion of their household income on water utility services.
This new program comes as the country continues to face a health and economic crisis, where families have struggled to pay their water bills. Even before the pandemic, many communities—including Flint—faced high water rates and lacked access to clean and affordable water. A recent survey of the 500 largest water systems in the country found that on average, Flint residents paid about $864 a year for water service — nearly double the national average.
“Every family should have access to clean, affordable drinking water, especially during a pandemic. In Congress, I fought to create this new program to help provide direct relief to families facing high water bills,” Congressman Kildee said. “My hometown of Flint knows all too well the consequences of failing to invest in our water infrastructure and ensure clean drinking water. Families in Flint and across the country deserve relief from high water bills.”
Congressman Kildee has been a strong advocate for investing and improving Michigan’s water infrastructure. During the coronavirus pandemic, Congressman Kildee wrote a letter to congressional leaders urging that any legislative relief packages to contain the spread of the coronavirus must include relief for Americans facing high water bills and water shutoffs. Previously, in 2019, he introduced landmark legislation, the Water Justice Act, which would invest $250 billion in water safety, affordability, and sustainability.