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Council News Release

7/31/2006  4:47:00 PM
Brian Hawksford (206) 684-8808
Zuzka Lehock-Howell (206) 233-3981

People have had few places to turn for help to pay for the most basic requirement of life

SEATTLE Today the Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 115636 which will provide assistance to low-income residents facing immediate shut-off of water service. The Emergency Water Assistance Program will pay half of a past-due water bill up to a maximum of $200, for people who meet the eligibility requirements.

In 2004 Councilmember Tom Rasmussen first proposed that Seattle strengthen its efforts on behalf of low-income ratepayers by providing assistance to customers facing shut-off of water service. In February 2005, the city council directed Seattle Public Utilities to examine options to create an emergency assistance program for water service customers. Since July 2005 when SPU launched a pilot project, the program has provided assistance to 323 customers providing an average credit of $174.

Until this program was created, people have had few places to turn for help to pay for the most basic requirement of life, said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. Now, Seattle will be able to help nearly 700 applicants yearly who are struggling to make ends meet.

Councilmember Richard Conlin, the chair of the councils Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities committee said This is an important new program to help protect our low-income ratepayers and I applaud the work of Councilmember Tom Rasmussen to lead this program to fruition with our vote today.


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