MICHIGAN WELFARE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
23 E. ADAMS, DETROIT, MI 48226
PH#: (313) 964-0618…F#: (313) 964-2600
August 7th, 2014
OFFICIAL STATEMENT: CONTACT: MI Welfare Rights
The DWSD’s New Approach to Rising Poverty
Today, the Detroit Water Dept. shared the next phase of how to better manage the mass water shutoffs they have been executing for several months. The 10 point plan unveiled by the Mayor describes several components that represent a first step, but misses the mark relative to the genesis from which these cuts started. Detroit is a City in crisis because the economic foundation has shifted so dramatically away from large scale manufacturing, an objective factor that continues to be ignored. The difference between what was the profile of our beloved City and the profile today is stark.
What is to become of those families who were already shutoff, and especially those who found a way to restore water access without going to the City for permission? Those households that have exhausted all of their income resources, are they to be denied access to water? What is to become of those seasonal, temporary working families who stayed in Michigan hoping that things would improve economically? Why not institute a permanent moratorium which would represent progressive problem-solving?
Surely, the Mayor and his staff are capable of researching and finding a way to make water accessible to every Detroit resident and to share that strategy with every suburban community that Detroit services. To resort to mass shutoffs after we are all clear what the consequences are of such a draconian step, smacks of attempts to paint the problem in a way that privatizing of our public trust would be a credible option. We cannot countenance such a position and don’t want the reputation of our beloved City to be sullied in such a way.
The world is watching how we treat this continuing circumstance of rising poverty, rising evictions, rising layoffs, rising attacks on democracy and we wonder why fewer and fewer residents arrive at the polls to vote. Mr. Mayor, institute the Water Affordability Program for a six-month trial period, which is designed to address these critical issues. Take privatization off the table, and Mr. Mayor, TURN THE WATER ON! Anything short of these recommendations are not worthy of you. We can all do better if we knew better…we know better.