Washington County and Clean Water Services are partnering to reduce the number of households experiencing past-due water bills accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. By centering equity, this program will serve as a relief to low-income households and those most disproportionally impacted by the pandemic who are still struggling to catch up on past-due utility bills for water, sewer and stormwater.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners formally agreed on June 7th, 2022, to work in partnership with Clean Water Services to:
- Reduce the number of households facing housing insecurity due to accumulated bills.
- Reduce the number of households sent to collections for past-due bills.
- Reduce the number of households facing water utility shutoffs.
- Reduce the negative health impacts of prolonged stress due to negative pandemic impacts.
Strategic Partnerships, For Community
“The goal of this initiative is to provide some economic relief that will benefit populations traditionally underserved by application-based programs, and to remove barriers to access including Washington County communities who may not have internet access at home or have limited English language proficiency,” said Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington. “Our strategic partnerships are based on how we can positively impact many households so that they may have one less bill to worry about especially during these tough times.”
Clean Water Service CEO Diane Taniguchi-Dennis adds, “Working in partnership to serve our community is at the heart of everything we do at Clean Water Services. This collaboration with the County and our water-providing partners makes it possible to continue finding ways to get relief to those of our neighbors who need it most.”
This program complements other application-based utility relief programs by focusing on populations that are most deeply impacted by the pandemic and may face barriers to accessing application-based programs.
Those who qualify to have their account cleared will be contacted directly by their service provider. Households that are not served by this account clearing program may still be able to access utility relief through existing application-based programs.
Assistance for other utility bills such as gas or electricity is available through Community Action for eligible Washington County households. Visit caowash.org to apply through the Community Action web portal or call 503-615-0771 for help in filling out an application. Households that remain in need of water utility assistance should contact their utility provider directly as there may be other financial assistance opportunities available, including payment plan options.