DPW Outlines Outreach and Implementation Strategy for Baltimore’s Water4All Discount Program BH2O Assists/BH2O Plus Participants will Remain Enrolled Until Water4All Begins
Thursday Jul 1st, 2021
Today, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) announced that it is taking critical first steps to launch Baltimore’s new Water4All discount program. Water4All is the new water billing discount program designed to create more equitable access to water assistance for more Baltimore City residents. Ordinance 20-468, the Water Accountability & Equity Act, is a comprehensive law that provides for an Office of Water-Customer Advocacy and Appeals, a Committee for Office Oversight, a right to administrative and judicial appeals, a Water4All discount program, and a fair process for customers before water services are cut off or liens imposed.
“As City Council President, I worked alongside advocates to lead the fight to pass the Water Accountability & Equity Act for the benefit of Baltimore families,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Now, as Mayor, I am pleased to launch the City’s new water billing discount program: Water4All. For the first time, Baltimore will expand assistance to tenants who do not directly pay their water bills. Initiatives like Water4All are how we will continue to build a more equitable Baltimore for all.”
The Water4All Expression of Interest form is now live and available for interested residents to complete and submit. The Expression of Interest form is the essential first step in building a program participant’s profile. Residents are also reminded that the public comment period for the Water4All regulations remains open until Saturday, July 17, 2021.
In January 2021, Mayor Brandon M. Scott signed an executive order postponing the implementation of Ordinance 20-468: Water Accountability & Equity Act in response to the continuous impact of COVID-19 on residents and businesses. Now, with the final pandemic-related restrictions lifting across Baltimore, the City is embarking on a robust outreach strategy to educate residents about the upcoming Water4All discount program and what residents can expect in the coming months.
We expect Water4All to be fully operational this fall. Until then, DPW will work alongside elected officials, community partners, and other city agencies to educate residents about the new discount program and any changes residents may see from the assistance they may already be receiving. For the first time, tenants who do not have their own account with DPW but instead pay their landlord for water may be eligible for assistance.
“The Department of Public Works is excited to expand access and equity, for homeowners and tenants alike, with the new Water4All discount program,” said Acting Director Jason W. Mitchell. “Providing affordable high-quality drinking water and wastewater services to Baltimore City residents remains among our highest priorities. This outreach strategy will touch all corners of the city to ensure residents are educated about the new initiative and prepared for the upcoming launch.”
Baltimore City residential households whose income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) may be eligible. For example, a family of 4 with an annual income of $53,000 or less would meet the income eligibility requirement. A formula is used to calculate the maximum a household should pay for annual water and sewer services, based on a percentage of their annual income; the difference between the calculated maximum and the estimated annual water and sewer bill amount would constitute the household’s annual discount.
Current participants in the BH2O Assists/BH2O Plus assistance programs will continue to be enrolled and receive water billing assistance until it is time for them to re-enroll. At that time, BH2O Assists/BH2O Plus participants will be asked to fill out the Water4All application and provide documentation supporting their estimated annual income and estimated annual water and sewer costs.