The Center for Financial Security conducted the evaluation of LIFT-UP, with CFS researcher Stephanie Moulton leading the study, which shows that participating cities were better able to collect overdue water utility payments with less reliance on costly debt collection agencies or resorting to shutting off service to customers. At the same time, program participants were able to catch up on overdue bills, make more on-time payments and save money on late fees.
The evaluation affirmed that both cities and participants benefited from the LIFT-UP program due to a combination of these program elements. By the end of the study participants were making more frequent, on-time utility payments, or were at reduced risk of service termination relative to customers who were not offered LIFT-UP. Program milestones include:
- Houston saw a 69 percent increase in the likelihood of program participants frequently paying their water utility bills on time.
- Newark program participants saw a 34 percent reduction in outstanding water bill balances.
- Program participants in St. Petersburg were 53 percent less likely to experience service shut-offs.
- Additionally, St. Petersburg participants saved an average of $140 in avoidable fees.