The policy changes include a new payment plan option, expanded financial assistance, and measures to inform residents when their water may be turned off.
Although Mayor Mike Duggan promises to have a “new plan shortly” to address the city water department’s highly criticized effort to collect delinquent bill payments, activists who have been protesting the shutoffs remain unconvinced that the change in leadership will have any tangible results.
The withdrawal of public services in Detroit is typically framed as an unavoidable response to the city’s declining tax base. Alternatively, we frame these violations as an active assault against communities of color and low-income families in the interest of white-controlled financial institutions.
At least a thousand people, including local residents, activists, and clergy and attendees of the progressive Netroots Nation political conference, filled the streets of Detroit on Friday to protest water service shutoffs to thousands of low-income residents.
Despite being surrounded by the largest collection of freshwater lakes in the world, thousands of Detroit residents—most of them low-income people of color—are finding themselves without access to fresh water because of actions by the city’s water department that advocates say are in violation of Detroiters’ human rights.