There was good news Tuesday for cash-strapped Detroit residents.
Mayor Mike Duggan announced that the city is continuing its moratorium on water shutoffs through 2022, with the hopes of permanently ending interuptions.
“My goal now is stop water shutoffs to low-income Detroiters once and for all,” Duggan said. “We have secured the funding necessary to continue this effort through 2022 and we are building a coalition to make this permanent.”
Early during the pandemic, Duggan and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer jointly worked to launch a relief plan to ensure that the city’s most vulnerable residents didn’t lose water service. The plan also helped to restore service at a discounted rate for others.
The state Department of Health and Human Services subsequently extended the water shutoff moratorium through the end of 2020.
"My administration will continue working to ensure every Michigander can give their child a glass of water at the dinner table, and I look forward to partnering with everyone, from the Biden Administration to state and local government, to get it done," Gov. Whitmer said in a statement on Tuesday.
Former Detroit health director Dr. Abdul El-Sayed joined the mayor in announcing the news, and said he planned to work with the city to acquire new funding to prevent residential water service interruptions for nonpayment on a permanent basis.
"This is a victory for the city, its residents, and the advocates who’ve been leading on this effort for years," he said in a statement. "But there remains work to do. The City has secured the funding to pay for water through 2022. Now, we must all work together—activists, lawmakers, and city officials—to secure the funds to make water shutoffs a thing of the past once and for all.”
In a press release, the city stated:
The plan announced today is not payment amnesty. Residential households will continue to generate their full water and sewer charges based on monthly usage, and the drainage charge, using current rates. DWSD plans to leverage local, state, federal and philanthropic resources to fill the gap to ensure residents who cannot pay today are able to maintain water service. Residential households who have the ability to pay should continue to pay their monthly bill to support maintaining and improving the water and sewer systems for you and all of Detroit.
Detroiters with low income can join the program and avoid any interruption of service by contacting Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency at 313-386-9727 or visit www.waynemetro.org.