THE OAKLAND PRESS: Qualified residents in 8 communities now can receive help with water bills

By Carol Hopkins, The Oakland Press

POSTED: 04/12/16, 11:21 AM EDT 

The Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA) is offering the help through the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) to residents of eight Oakland County communities –– Pontiac, Keego Harbor, Bingham Farms, Ferndale, Orchard Lake, Farmington Hills, Commerce Township, and Orion Township.

The program launched in March, and aims to alleviate the burden of high water bills, helping to ensure that water is readily available for all families, said officials.

Other communities in Oakland County have shown interest but have yet to sign on with OLHSA for the program, officials said. Appointments began at OLHSA on April 11.

“There is a huge need for this program as we have seen community members struggle with water bills and shut-offs in our community for years now,” said Ron Borngesser, OLHSA CEO.

“The implementation of this program is an important step in ensuring that access to water is a right, and not a luxury.”

Benefits of the program for qualifying individuals can include bill assistance up to $1,000 per household per year, home water audits for households with above average water usage, home repairs up to $1,000 to fix minor plumbing issues that are causing high water usage, water saving kits and training classes from EcoWorks, and access to other services offered through OLHSA.

OLHSA officials said they are grateful to be part of the Community Action Alliance that will be distributing the program to those in need along with Macomb Community Action, Monroe County Opportunity Program and Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, who is overseeing the program and distribution of the funds.

If your community in Oakland, Genesee or Washtenaw County is not yet participating in WRAP, you can encourage local community leaders to opt in by contacting Dayna Swindell, email DaynaS@olhsa.org or 248-209-2791. Community benefits for those participating include increased revenue from water payments that may not otherwise be made.

Residents of participating communities can make an appointment at OLHSA by contacting the program administrator at 313-386-WRAP (9727) or visit www.waynemetro.org/wrap.

Read the article on The Oakland Press' website here