Detroit Mayor's Office Disappointed With UN's Stance on Water Shutoffs

October 21, 2014, 7:14 AM by  Allan Lengel

Alexis Wiley

Mayor Mike Duggan's administration expressed disappointment with the United Nation's human rights experts who came to town and recommended the city restore water service to those unable to pay.

The United Nation's experts said the shutoff discriminate against the majority black population, according to the Associated Press.

Alexis Wiley, the mayor's chief of staff, issued a statement Monday night, saying:

Unfortunately, it became clear shortly into the meeting that the UN representatives had reached their conclusions and prepared their recommendations before the meeting even began.

It has been widely reported that months ago, the city of Detroit addressed many of the same concerns raised today by the UN delegation through its 10-point Water Plan.

In addition to simplifying the process for getting into a payment plan to stop the shut off process, we also established the Detroit Water Fund to assist low income customers who are having difficulty paying their water bill.  Nearly $2 million is available in that fund, although calls to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan for financial assistance have gone down from 1,300 two months ago to 570 last month.

Wiley noted that since the 10-point plan was implemented two months ago, enrollment in the payment plans has increased from 17,000 to more than 33,000.

"The city is committed to assisting every Detroiter who needs help with their water bill," she said. " Unfortunately, when we asked the UN group for the names of the individuals they say are without water so we could offer assistance, they would not share the information with us.

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