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Miami-Dade County Seeks Donations For Emergency Fund To Help Residents Avoid Water Shutoffs

drinking water
Getty images via Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County is not currently cutting people’s water service or collecting late fees for those who haven’t been able to pay their bills, but the county is asking for donations to an emergency fund called WASD Cares — in order to avoid water shutoffs in the future.

Jose Cueto, interim director of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, told WLRN that donating anywhere from $0.50 to $5 while make a difference. The donations can also come from people outside of Miami-Dade County, outside of Florida or even outside of the country.

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"Water is so essential and it's so important to everything that we do," Cueto said. "Oftentimes, it's the one service that homeowners cannot do without so, as a result, we thought that this WASD Cares program was essential, especially during these difficult times of the pandemic where there are a number of homeowners who have fallen behind and need as much help and assistance as they can get."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of accounts past due have doubled, he said. One out of 10 customers are behind on their utility bills and the average past due amount ranges between $400 and $450.

Applications to get relief will open up once the emergency fund has about $250,000.

Eligible customers must live in Miami-Dade County, show proof of financial hardhsip and have a household income that does not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. They will receive up to $250 toward their bill, once a year.