Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg prohibits water shut-offs through mid-May, extending COVID relief

Harrisburg’s MLK City Government Center

Harrisburg issued a temporary ban on water shut-offs on Monday, extending the city’s pandemic-related assistance to residents.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse issued an executive order that prohibits water shut-offs in the city through mid-May, in conjunction with the eviction moratorium.

“I’m very conscious that this is a serious issue,” Papenfuse said when reached by phone.

The declaration covers those who are delinquent, unable to pay or who violate a payment plan. However, the outstanding payments are not forgiven under this order, only delayed.

In the order, Papenfuse said that residential water shut-offs would increase the threat to public health and possibly cause displacement of individuals and households.

Capital Region Water, which oversees the city’s water system, planned to begin water shut-offs on Monday, Papenfuse said. He added that Harrisburg is working with CRW to educate residents on local relief programs available to them.

“I wanted to give people a little more time to get the help they need,” Papenfuse said.

Dauphin County officials recently announced their plan to release up to $18 million in state and federal CARES Rent Relief Program funds to those behind on rent or utilities.

Additionally, Papenfuse expects the city will soon receive federal funds from President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” a COVID-19 stimulus package. The city is projected to get up to $48.8 million.

Papenfuse said he is considering the substantial funds and increased access to the COVID-19 vaccine and hoping he will not need to extend the eviction moratorium and water-shut off prohibition again. He has already extended the moratorium four times since he enacted it in December.

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