The city of Pharr announced the launch of its Water Utility Assistance Program this past week, aiming to assist residents with their water bills.

The program, which is part of the Office of Grants Management and Community Development, will provide up to $500 in relief for residents struggling to pay their water bills in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The city of Pharr was awarded a second round of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, and we received $585,145 back in November of last year,” Chief Communications Officer Michelle Lopez said.

According to Lopez, the city was again awarded $250,000 in virus relief funding for the program after the first round was considered a success.

“The city ensures that the CARES Act funds are to better prepare for, prevent and respond to the coronavirus, COVID-19,” she added.

The emergency utility assistance program is being administered through the city’s Community Development Block Grant office. Lopez explained that the program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“We understand the challenges that the pandemic has raised for families in our area and as soon as we knew CARES Act funding was available to our city, the utility assistance program was something we wanted to do,” Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said in a news release announcing the program. “This additional assistance will help provide some relief to our residents who currently find themselves with delinquent water bills.”

Applications will be available at the second floor of Pharr City Hall, located at 118 S. Cage Blvd., beginning Monday, April 5. Applicants must provide their 2019 tax return, six months of bank statements and the last three months of their payroll stubs. 

The applications will be available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the funds are exhausted.

“This is basically for those who are behind their water bill,” Lopez said. “It’s only going to cover their water bill. You know how some utilities — they include garbage, sewage, things like that. This is only for the water fee.”

For more information about the Water Utility Assistance Program, Pharr residents are encouraged to contact the Pharr Grants Management & Community Development office at (956) 402-4190.

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