FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — There is a new, free, federally funded program to help qualified, low-income households in Fort Smith pay their residential water or wastewater past due balances up to $2,000.

According to a press release from the city, the Arkansas Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program is a one-time assistance program issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Arkansas Energy Office administer the program.

Applicants must apply through the Arkansas LIHWAP website.

Funds are paid directly to the city and credited to residents’ accounts.

The release says the Arkansas LIHWAP program takes up to 30 days to review an application which can be delayed if additional documentation is required.

For customers who have already applied and are awaiting approval, the city’s water utilities office is taking further action to ensure their services are not shut off, according to the release.

  • Customers at risk for disconnection who provide their application submission email will be excluded from the disconnect list for 90 days.
  • Customers who have already been disconnected may be reconnected without payment if they provide proof of their application submission.  
  • Accounts will be noted for customers who do not provide their program submission email as soon as LIHWAP alerts the department of the approval. Accounts that have already been disconnected will be reconnected per the pending payment. Payment can take up to two weeks to receive once the application has been approved.

The release says a case manager will be assigned to applicants. The program will not cover the sanitation portion of the bill. Applicants must submit their most recent bill for consideration. If applicants are on a payment plan, they should contact the city’s customer service team for the outstanding balance.

According to a press release from the city, Project Concern and the Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) are available to City of Fort Smith Utility customers only. More information about those programs is available here.

For applications and related questions about the state-funded Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), please visit https://arkansaslihwap.com.