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Darrell King, the city’s Water Production Bureau Chief, introduced two new financial assistance programs for low-income residents to pay off water-related expenses on Thursday at the Fifth Ward meeting.

Additionally, Juleya Woodson, Project Manager at the Youth Job Center and a Fifth Ward native, presented the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. She said the program is geared toward 18- to 29-year-old residents to “help entrepreneurship appear more tangible.” 

Assistance with water-related expenses

Both the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for income-eligible community members. 

LIHWAP assists with water and wastewater bills, offering a one-time bill payment of up to $1,500 per eligible household.

LIHEAP gives residents an affordable water and sewer rate. The Evanston City Council approved two different water rates: the standard rate of $3.17 per 100 cubic feet (equivalent to 748 gallons of water), and the affordable rate of $1.94 per gallon for income-eligible residents..

If you are an Evanston resident who is income-eligible, you can apply for both programs through the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA). If you qualify or LIHWAP, then you would automatically qualify for affordable water and sewer rates as well. More information on these services can be found here.

LIHWAP & LIHEAP income eligibility

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program

Woodson, who is an entrepreneur herself, said that the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program that she is tasked with directing is a free virtual series that will occur in two parts.

In the first, a four-week portion called the “bridge” program, students will explore entrepreneurship and financial literacy. “We encourage our youth to bring absolutely any ideas they have, in which they want to create a business,” Woodson said. By the end of the four weeks, she hopes participants will have solidified their interest in entrepreneurship.

In the second, a selected few will go into an 11-week “incubator phase” where participants will actively develop their business at whatever stage it’s in, “whether it’s getting an LLC [Limited Liability Corporation] or setting up their business bank accounts.” 

“By the end of the entire program, we hope to have new startup businesses amongst our youth, and also have them have created some great partnerships within the community as well,” she said.

To learn more about the program and to apply, click on the “entrepreneurial and innovation link” on the Youth Job Center website or contact contact Woodson directly.

Debbie-Marie Brown

Debbie-Marie Brown is a reporter and Racial Justice Fellow at the Evanston RoundTable. They cover the local reparations initiative, Black life in Evanston, and the 5th ward. Contact Debbie-Marie at dmb@evanstonroundtable.com...

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