Valley nonprofit helping families with heating, water costs

TEAM, Inc., Energy Department leaders, left to right, David Morgan, TEAM - President and CEO; Cynthia Thelemaque; Camille Perez; and Latoya Jones.

TEAM, Inc., Energy Department leaders, left to right, David Morgan, TEAM - President and CEO; Cynthia Thelemaque; Camille Perez; and Latoya Jones.

Contributed photo

The State of Connecticut’s Department of Social Services (DSS) has launched the state’s first Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) — and one local nonprofit will be helping Valley residents take advantage.

Community action agencies across the state, including TEAM, Inc. for the lower Naugatuck Valley and surrounding region, will be administering the program.

“Inflation is affecting everyone, not just low-income populations,” said David Morgan, TEAM President and CEO. “TEAM is here as a community resource to ensure all who qualify for assistance in paying bills for their most basic necessities can access it.”

One-time funding will assist households with annual income at or below 60 percent of the state median income. Eligible households can qualify for up to $1,000 paid directly to their household water and wastewater service providers, with prioritization given to those who have disconnected water services and overdue water bills that may lead to disconnection.

Applications can be found at this link and then sent, along with current water bills, to TEAM, Inc. 30 Elizabeth St., Derby, CT 06418.

TEAM has for many years administered home heating assistance through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP).

As the cost of oil and other home heating fuels has increased dramatically this year, and the realities of inflation squeeze already tight budgets, TEAM has seen a 21% increase in home heating assistance applications from this time last year.

Because of federal guidelines eliminating asset tests for clients of this program throughout the COVID pandemic, many more residents may be eligible for CEAP and LIHWAP. Residents who also receive CEAP benefits, SNAP, TFA, SSI, State Supplement or Refugee Cash will likely also qualify for water assistance (LIHWAP) and are encouraged to apply.

Residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Milford, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton and Woodbridge who are interested to see if they qualify for CEAP or LIHWAP are encouraged to call TEAM at (203) 736-5420 or email energy@teaminc.org.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com