Jul 10 2014
As the summer heat settles in on the city of Detroit, over four thousand families are currently living without running water. The Detroit Water and Sewage Department has been shutting off water for the past four months to residential and commercial accounts which have either not paid their bills in 60 days or are $150 overdue. The shut offs have been taking place in an attempt to collect more than $90 million in unpaid bills. While residential customers have borne the brunt of the shut offs, commercial and industrial accounts actually make up a third of the monies owed to the department.
A new all-volunteer group called the Detroit Water Brigade is gathering resources to aid those affected, as well as advocating for an affordable income-based water payment plan. Human rights activists worry that the lack of clean, drinking water will affect the entire community potentially leading to diseases and fatalities.
To help reinstate water supplies, $800,000 has been raised from private donors and a voluntary 50 cent charge on water bills. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he regrets how the city handled the overdue bills saying that it “could have been handled in a far more sensitive way.” U.S. Representative John Conyers has vowed to find federal aid for the low income families who are living without water.
GUEST: Demeeko Williams, Co-ordinator of the Detroit Water Brigade
Visit www.detroitwaterbrigade.com for more information, or call 1-844-42-WATER.
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