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Record #: SR2020-291   
Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Intro date: 4/24/2020 Current Controlling Legislative Body: Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
Final action: 5/20/2020
Title: Call for U.S. Congress to enact and fund national water affordability program modeled after Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Sponsors: Villegas, Gilbert
Topic: CITY COUNCIL - Miscellaneous
Attachments: 1. SR2020-291.pdf, 2. R2020-291.pdf
Chicago City Council April 15, 2020



WHEREAS, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago's City Council have prioritized safe and healthy water for all Chicagoans. This has become especially important given the deadly impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the disproportionate impacts on our most vulnerable communities; and

WHEREAS, The need for a subsidy to support long term, sustainable, and affordable access to water and sewerage services for the benefit of low-income residential customers will not end after the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, Congress should create and fund a national water rates subsidy program similar to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); and

WHEREAS, The LIHEAP program receives and expends approximately $3.5 billion annually to support gas and electric heating utility costs for low income residents throughout the United States; and
WHEREAS, Based on the same realities that lead the federal government to recognize the need to support low-income families by subsidizing energy, it is time to also provide a robust federal subsidy for the precious resource of clean and safe drinking water; and
WHEREAS, Unfortunately, due to the high cost of providing treated, safe engineered drinking water, based largely on complying with federal regulations, this resource is seeing an alarming rise in retail rates across the country. While there is often a call for municipalities to become the "water bank" and provide free or subsidized water, the federal government must be a leader in partnering with municipalities and states to fund necessary water subsidies for low-income families, as demonstrated by the popular and successful LIHEAP program; and
WHEREAS, Affordable water is a health, safety, and welfare issue that is implicitly recognized not only by the recent reconnection of water services to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also by the existence of th...

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