THE DETROIT WATER CRISIS
I could go on a rant about institutional racism and how the Detroit water shut-off is a direct attack on impoverished people of color who are , ironically, drowning amid hiked utility rates without comparable opportunities for economic advancement... but instead, let's talk about (temporary) solutions.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.
“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” department spokesman Bill Johnson said. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”
The decision comes after the city has put into national spotlight for a policy that has been framed as a human rights issue for low-income residents who can’t afford to pay their bills. It also was announced n the same day that a group of Detroit residents filed a lawsuit in the city’s bankruptcy case asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to restore water service to residential customers.
The residents, backed by a coalition of activist and community groups, allege that the city is violating the constitutional rights and contractual rights by shutting off water for those who owe back payments.
1. Donate to H2O GO! A Fund for Detroit Citizens
Two proactive women and Detroit natives who founded Speak Your Peace, Inc. have partnered with the Water Assistance Volunteer Effort (WAVE) to raise money for low-income families who have been denied a basic human right.
excerpt from the H2O GO gofundme page -
In a city where the median household income is less than half the national average, 38 percent of residents live below the poverty line and 23 percent are unemployed, it comes as no surprise that at least 40 percent of customers are delinquent on their bills. The city of Detroit's water and sewerage department is slated to cut off the water supply to the over 40% of the city's residents that have delinquent bills. Since this year's shut-offs started at the end of March, at least 15,000 Detroit households have had their water turned off. Residents have resorted to filling empty trash cans from neighbor's water hose in order to have water to drink, bathe in, cook with, and dispose of human waste. Water is not free but in these trying economic times many hardworking disadvantaged families just need some help with staying on top of the bills. The city of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has given citizens with past due water bills 15 days to pay. Please donate whatever you can as we allocate funds to low-income families in Detroit through the H2O Go Fund!
The WAVE fund provides assistance to low-income families during a crisis by ensuring uninterrupted access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. WAVE is an independent Michigan Non-Profit 501 (c) 3 corporation based in Detroit.
COPY, PASTE AND SHARE THIS URL WITH YOUR NETWORK http://www.gofundme.com/H2OGoFund
2. Pay someone's overdue bill through The Detroit Water Project
The Detroit Water Project is not the only way that people can receive assistance with their water bill. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says there are two other programs to assist people -- the million-dollar Detroit Residential Water Assistance Program (DRWAP) and the nonprofit Wave Fund, which takes donations. To receive assistance, people must prove that they are at poverty level and in need.
How this works
The Detroit Water Project will match you to a Detroit resident you can help directly by submitting a payment to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department on their behalf.
You will receive the following information for a Detroit resident you can help with their water bill:
- Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) account number
- Past due amount
- Directions on how to use the DWSD website to pay a water bill
Although Detroit residents have until the end of July to avoid the water shut-off, Bell said she and Tillman have no plans to end the Detroit Water Project project anytime soon.
Please help in any way you can and continue to share links and spread the word so all resources can be consorted for relief.