Residents of Flint, Michigan are in danger of losing their homes if they don’t pay their water bills.
Local news station 25 News reported this week that more than 8,000 people have received notice from the city that they are “at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure if they don’t pay up on their water bills” by May 19:
“After recently putting out shut off notices the city is now back to threatening tax liens on people’s homes.
What gets them on this list is not paying a water bill for six months or more… After May 19, for those who do not pay, a lengthy process begins which could end in foreclosure.”
Meanwhile, three years after the Flint water crisis began, pipes still have not been fixed and water is still considered unsafe to drink.
Residents are still having to purchase filters to reduce the lead in their water. The city believes it will be another three years before all of the city’s lead pipes are replaced.
Despite all of this, in February, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder ended a program that reimbursed residents for most of their water costs in the wake of the lead crisis. A month after the program ended the city of Flint began shutting off water service to residents with past due water bills.
Snyder insists that the reason the state decided to end the program was due to the fact that Flint’s water was tested in January and now meets federal guidelines for lead levels. However, according to officials this doesn’t mean that the water is safe to drink, and that will most likely continue to be the case until all of the old lead pipes are replaced.
Several officials have been charged with crimes relating to the Flint water crisis, including two emergency managers who were appointed by Gov. Snyder. Although Snyder claims he didn’t know about the water problems until October 2015, his aides’ emails suggest he was informed of the situation a full year earlier. Snyder has been investigated but not charged with his role in the crisis.