8,000 Flint Residents Face Foreclosure for Failing to Pay for Poisoned Water

Three years ago, the residents of Flint, Mich., began sourcing their drinking water from the Flint River. Both because of the river’s poor water quality and the pipes through which it was pumped into people’s homes, a health crisis quickly erupted.

It took nearly two years before any significant action was taken — and by then, more than 100,000 people had likely been exposed to dangerous water, containing bacteria and lead. And while the situation became a recurring news story across the country, it has more recently faded from the nation’s attention.

Unfortunately, this isn’t because the Flint water crisis has been resolved — in fact, little tangible progress has been made.

Currently, residents are still required to either drink bottled water or use water filters that do not wholly remove potentially hazardous bacteria contaminates. A permanent solution won’t be achieved until the end of the decade, at the earliest.

As outrageous as this sequence of events is, Flint homeowners face new hardships that can only be described as disgraceful.

Over 8,000 people in Flint currently risk foreclosure on their homes. The city recently issued a number of notices warning that officials would pursue tax liens  if Flint residents did not pay their overdue water bills.

Yes, that’s right — because people are not paying for poisoned water, they may be turned out to the street.

City officials claim this course of action is merely one of practicality, with one remarking, “We have to have to have revenue coming in, so we can’t … give people water at the tap and not get revenue coming in to pay those bills.”

While this may initially seem somewhat sensical, a deeper look highlights the absurdity of the demand.

Part of the problem is that many of the individuals facing tax liens actually had been paying their bills. However, in December, the city began installing new water meters before issuing new bills. In many cases, these bills claimed that homeowners had been incorrectly charged and owed a great deal in back payments. And the timing of this claim is particularly interesting.

In February, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder officially withdrew emergency funding for Flint. Since then, disagreement within the state legislature has made the path to restoring this funding impossible, forcing Flint city officials to scramble to make ends meet. Their solution, evidently, was to threaten residents with homelessness.

Fortunately, the Michigan senate more recently approved a bill that would send $100 million to Flint. Gov. Snyder has yet to sign it, however — and whether he will remains uncertain.

Furthermore, the Flint water crisis has hardly been free of shady dealings. A year ago, I wrote about an emerging scandal in which Flint Mayor Karen Weaver fired a city administrator for raising concerns about the use of donated funds intended to aid residents.

Natasha Henderson claims the mayor had instructed city employees to direct concerned parties to donate to the “Karenabout Flint” fund instead of the official charity. The fund, named after Mayor Weaver, was allegedly using this money to fund her reelection political action committee, not helping Flint residents.

Since then, no investigation has been conducted, and Weaver is still Flint’s mayor; however, she currently faces a possible recall, though for altogether different reasons.

The bottom line is that it’s simply cruel and senseless to threaten Flint residents who have not paid for their unusable, poisoned water with homelessness.

Tell Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint city officials to refuse to file tax liens against homeowners and to subsidize residents’ water by signing this Care2 petition!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 members by learning how to create your own petition, and make your voice heard today!

Photo Credit: USDA/Flickr

101 comments

Melania P
Melania P2 months ago

So unfair!!

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Greta H
Greta H4 months ago

Madness

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Carl R
Carl R4 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Horrific!

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Horrific!

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Celine Russo
Celine Russo4 months ago

The Flint scandal is so sick, in every way.

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Janis K
Janis K4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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David F
David F4 months ago

Freya H, These protesters are the same folks that are blind to the self destruction they created when they voted in a socialist Democrat, tax the rich only, government time and again.
The successful and their tax money are now absent.

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