‘Santa’ de Blasio Delivers For Low Income Homeowners



Home Water Assistance Program – started last year – expands to tens of thousands of senior or disabled New Yorkers; saves most participants 25 percent on annual water bill


Bill de BlasioMayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced that nearly 52,000 low-income, senior, or disabled homeowners across the city will receive an automatic credit of $115.89 on their next water bill, saving most participants approximately 25 percent on their annual bill.


“The holidays can be expensive – and this credit will provide some much-needed relief to low-income, senior, and disabled homeowners,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Our Home Water Assistance Program is just one way in which we’ve focused on providing relief to New York City’s water customers – from the lowest water rate increase in over a decade, to freezing the minimum charge.”


“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, we’ve been able to extend a credit of $115 to nearly 52,000 low-income homeowners across the city,” said DEP Commissioner Lloyd. “The Home Water Assistance Program is another example of how DEP is following through on the Mayor’s promise to help low-income customers, while still keeping water and sewer rates affordable for all New Yorkers.”


The credit is part of the Home Water Assistance Program, which was first introduced by the de Blasio Administration in 2014.  Last year, 12,500 homeowners who qualified for the Federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) received the credit.  This year, DEP has expanded the program to include those who receive a Senior Citizens Homeowners Exemption or a Disabled Homeowners Exemption for property taxes, bringing the total to nearly 52,000 homeowners.


DEP has partnered with the Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Department of Finance (DOF) to identify qualified one- to four- family homeowners that received a HEAP or low-income property tax benefit in 2015.


Homeowners do not have to do anything to receive the credit; it will appear on the next water and sewer bill for qualifying customers.


“We are very pleased to partner with DEP and HRA in support of the Mayor’s program to provide  financial relief to those New Yorkers who need it most. This is an important initiative for homeowners as it reduces their water bill during what is a costly time year,” said Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha.


“The expansion of this credit helps an increased number of homeowners who are low-income seniors or have disabilities pay their water bills, and supports our overall efforts to address income inequality for the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said HRA Commissioner Steve Banks.


DEP proposed these changes to the New York City Water Board, which adopted them as part of the FY 2016 Water and Sewer Rate schedule. In addition, as part of DEP’s commitment to providing the highest quality service while ensuring effective and fair revenue collection, for the last two years the minimum charge has been frozen for those customers who use less than 100 gallons of water each day. This means that roughly 25 percent of single family homes, many of them owned by seniors, have seen no water rate increase during that time.


DEP has also expanded the leak forgiveness program, which has saved customers more than $83 million in leak-related water charges since 2011.


“This is the type of help that Bronxites and residents all over the city need, especially during the holiday season when expenses can go through the roof for many families and every little bit can help,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Budgets can get real tight during this time of the year, and this water bill credit is a huge boon for our homeowners who are trying to make it through the holiday.”



“Any assistance to low-income homeowners is welcome news in the Bronx and New York City. Many families struggle from paycheck to paycheck and receiving a credit on their next water bill will likely go a long way to help” said Assembly Member Latoya Joyner.


DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants.


DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. DEP’s capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties.



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