The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced the State of North Carolina has been awarded more than $38 million in federal funding to establish a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning Wednesday, eligible households that have had their water services cut off or have received notice that their water services are in danger of being cut off can apply for assistance in paying their bill through a new federal program called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).
LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that will help eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services. The program provides a one-time payment for eligible low-income households directly to the utility company. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds run out.
"Due to the pandemic and its impact on our economy, many households are struggling to maintain their water service," said Tara Myers, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability. "The LIHWAP program will help families in North Carolina keep their water running, a basic human need that’s critical for good sanitation and better health."
Households that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Work First services, or those that received Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) services between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, are automatically eligible to receive this benefit if their water services have been cut off or are in danger of being cut off.
All other households that have had their water services or are in danger of losing it can apply starting Dec. 1, 2021, online at www.epass.nc.gov. Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from www.epass.nc.gov and dropping it off at or faxing it to their local county Department of Social Services or by calling their local county Department of Social Services to apply by phone.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all households that are not in danger of having their water service cut off can apply for assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for the LIHWAP program, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen and:
For more information on this program and eligibility, visit the LIHWAP website at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap.
The Nantahala Ranger District has issued a Special Use Permit to Duke Energy to install an overhead powerline along Forest Service Road 422 (Winding Stairs Road) that will replace the existing cross-country route. The new powerline along Winding Stairs Road will improve future access for repairs to maintain electricity to the Nantahala Community.
The Forest Service normally closes Winding Stairs Road annually from January 1st to late March. To enable Duke Energy to begin installation of the new powerline, the road will be closed beginning November 29, 2021 through late March of 2022.
For more information, please contact the Nantahala Ranger District at (828)524-6441.
NCDHHS to Host Livestream Fireside Chat and Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Ages 5–11 on Nov. 9
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat and tele-town hall on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to discuss the safety and effectiveness of the recently approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11.
NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D, will host the event and will be joined by pediatrician Rasheeda Monroe, M.D. Dr. Monroe currently serves as the Medical Director of Primary Care Pediatrics at WakeMed. She is also the Raleigh area Campus Director of the UNC School of Medicine and the Director to the Kenan Urban Scholars program at the UNC School of Medicine.
Molly Grantham — WBTV news anchor, author, speaker and mom of three children — will moderate the conversation.
The fireside chat will livestream from both the NCDHHS and WBTV social media accounts and will also include a tele-town hall feature. Households will be invited by phone to listen in and submit questions to help ensure everyone interested can participate. People can also dial into the event by calling (855)-756-7520 Ext.76807#.
This event comes as the FDA recently authorized and the CDC now recommends a lower-dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5–11. Children are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus just like everyone else, and the vaccine provides a safe, tested way to help keep them healthy.
To date, more than 69% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and 71% of adults, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Watch the livestreams on NCDHHS social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
NCDHHS fireside chats and tele-town halls are part of the state’s ongoing public engagement to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure equitable access to timely information, resources and COVID-19 vaccines.
La vacuna de Pfizer-BioNTech contra el COVID-19