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Eligible residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for water utility assistance.

Washington County residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic might qualify to have their water, sewer and stormwater costs eliminated through federal relief funding.

Anyone who receives a utility bill from a public entity in Washington County for water, sewer and stormwater charges and meets certain eligibility requirements will qualify for the program, said Karen DeBaker, spokesperson for Clean Water Services, which manages water resources in the region.

The program will assist with water-related utility costs between March 1 through the end of 2020, according to Clean Water Services.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners allocated $3 million in utility assistance through the county's distribution of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, DeBaker said.

Eligible residents must have a utility account through a public entity such as Hillsboro, for example, and have been impacted by COVID-19 through job loss, reduced work hours, illness, quarantine or other impacts.

Eligible residents must also participate in government assistance programs or live in a household that earns at or below 80% area median income for the past 30 days.

Qualifying government assistance programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Oregon Health Plan/Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or several other programs.

DeBaker said assistance will be distributed to residents until funds for the program run out. She encouraged customers to request a CARES Act utility assistance application through Community Action, which is administering the program.

Community Action asks people to request applications by calling 503-615-0771 only between 9 a.m. and noon Monday through Thursday due to the high volume of requests. People can also submit applications online.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that residents who receive Supplemental Security Income are eligible for the program.

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