Income Assistance Programs

Soquel Creek Water District is committed to assisting our customers in every way possible, even when that assistance is not directly administered by the District. The agencies and programs on this page are not intended to encompass all assistance available to Santa Cruz County residents but may provide our customers a convenient resource to begin searching for the program that best suits their circumstances.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program LIHWAP offers a one-time payment to help you pay your past-due water or wastewater bills. LIHWAP helps pay overdue bills which accrued during any timeframe. There is no date restriction for when the overdue amount occurred.

How Do I Apply?

Households can apply for LIHWAP assistance through a local LIHWAP service provider. Eligibility for LIHWAP services can vary depending on income, water system participation, place of residence, and other factors. Households whose utility payments are included in their rent may also be eligible for LIHWAP. Contact your local LIHWAP service provider to learn more about how to apply by visiting

What Can I Qualify For?

LIHWAP provides one-time payments to low-income households that are eligible for assistance. The size of a benefit can vary depending on the past due balance of the household’s residential water and wastewater bills. In addition, program participation is limited to households receiving services from water and wastewater providers enrolled in LIHWAP to receive the payment of assistance benefits. Households that qualify for LIHWAP could reduce their water or wastewater charges, or both if their bills include both services, by up to $2,000.

If you are struggling to afford your water or wastewater bills, please visit to see if you qualify for payment assistance through LIHWAP and to find the local service provider near you to apply. You can also call 866-675-6623.

Local Help

  • Central Coast Energy Services, Inc.
    This provider offers residential water and wastewater utility payment assistance to low-income Californians in our area.
    P.O. Box 2707, Watsonville, CA 95077
    Phone: (888) 728-3637
    Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


211 is a service offered by United Way of Santa Cruz that refers Santa Cruz County residents to the local services they need. By dialing 211, callers can find information on housing and shelters, transportation service, childcare, utility and rental assistance, and many other programs. It's fast, free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

California Lifeline Telephone Program

The California Public Utility Commission's (PUC) California Lifeline program provides discounted basic residential (landline) telephone services to low-income households. You can qualify for California Lifeline if you (or another person in your household) are enrolled in an eligible public-assistance program. You can also qualify if your total household income meets the California Lifeline income guidelines. For more information, please call your telephone company or the Lifeline Center at 866-272-0349. You can also visit the Government Benefits website.

California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE)

CARE provides a 20% discount on monthly PG&E bills to qualifying low-income customers. Call PG&E at 866-743-2273 or visit the CARE website for more information.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities provides immediate assistance for people facing rent/eviction situations, utility shutoff, food and lodging needs, and other emergency situations. For more information call 831-722-2675.

Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc.

Need help paying your water bill? Are you low-income and affected by the drought? Call the Community Action Board's Drought Assistance Program (DWAP) or visit their office during office hours to see if you qualify. Eligibility guidelines are based on the maximum gross monthly income:

  • One person: $980
  • Two persons: $1,327
  • Three persons: $1,674
  • Four persons: $2,020
  • Five persons: $2,367
  • Six persons: $2,714
  • Seven persons: $3,060
  • Eight persons: $3,407


Phone: 831-457-1741, ext. 297


1 to 4 pm

12:30 to 4:30 pm

1 to 4:30 pm.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

EITC sometimes called the Earned Income Credit (EIC), is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit.

To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a tax return. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by calling 800-829-1040 for more information.

Fast Track

Fast Track provides assistance to low-income households that are in a crisis situation. Examples include a household that has received a 24 or 48-hour disconnect notice or service termination by their utility company or an energy-related crisis of life-threatening emergency exists in the applicant's household. Any resident of California who meets the income guidelines and is responsible for energy costs in a residence may be eligible. More information is available online at the Government Benefits website or by calling 888-728-3637.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides a direct payment to an eligible client's utility bill to help offset the cost of heating or cooling their home. This assistance is available once per calendar year for gas and electric, propane, or firewood expenditures. HEAP also offers budget counseling services for low-income households. Learn more on the LIHEAP webpage.

Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH)

The REACH program provides financial assistance for qualifying low-income people who have received PG&E termination notices. This program is administered by the Salvation Army. For more information, call your local Salvation Army office at 831-426-8365 or 831-724-3922.

St. Vincent de Paul Society

The St. Vincent de Paul Society provides emergency assistance to those in need, including help with food, clothing, appliances, transportation, rent and utilities. For more information call 831-423-0878 or 831-722-3250.

State of California Franchise Tax Board Homeowner & Renter Assistance

Homeowner Assistance Program

The Homeowner Assistance Program allows a once-a-year payment from the State of California to qualified individuals based on part of the property taxes assessed and paid on their homes. You may be eligible to file a claim if you are a United States citizen, designated alien or qualified alien when you file your claim and meet selected criteria.

Renter Assistance Program

The Renter Assistance Program allows a once-a-year payment from the State of California to qualified individuals based on part of the property taxes they paid indirectly when they paid their rent. You may be eligible to file a claim if you are a United States citizen, designated alien or qualified alien when you file your claim and meet selected criteria. Also available is the Nonrefundable Renters' Credit, which is a tax credit available to qualified California residents who paid rent on their primary residence.

For more information on any of these programs call the Franchise Tax Board at 800-868-4171.