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In spring of 2023, the UNC Environmental Finance provided the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) with recommendations on how to potentially structure and administer a new customer assistance program (CAP) for their service area, which includes areas of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The approach for conducting baseline research on CAPs consists of three main elements 1) an examination of national best practices in CAP design, 2) a gap analysis of local assistance programs in OWASA’s service area, and 3) a quantification of necessary funds to support the segment of OWASA’s service population most in need of assistance. Though these recommendations are specific to OWASA, the analysis and its findings may be of interest to others seeking to understand or restructure a customer assistance program.

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