Skip to comments.Detroit Water Shutoffs: A Human Rights Crisis Turning to Tragedy
Posted on 07/07/2014 9:14:03 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Why spend so much time commenting on Detroit? Because the city of more than 700,000 people is bankrupt, turning the water off on over one hundred thousand water customers, and now axing the contracts of nonprofit human service groups that have been providing safety net services for Detroits legions of poor people residing in devastated neighborhoods. Is there any hope?
Inell Byrd, a 41-year-old home health aide still living in Detroits North End, told New York Times writer James Eligon, I know the city is coming back. That was the concluding sentence of Eligons moving portrait of residents of the North End, east of the Woodward Corridor of Detroit, and how they are holding on as they watch their city fall apart beneath them. Even in Ms. Byrds case, the story is heart-wrenching. Working two jobs to take care of her retired husband, who cannot work due to having suffered two strokes, Ms. Byrd owes $4,500 in back taxes. She has contemplated selling her home, but she pulled the house off the market after getting mostly lowball offers from white buyers.
Eligon also writes about Banika Jones, a 34-year-old woman living in the North End. After overcoming suspicions of the white social activists coming into her neighborhood, she now volunteers with one of the white-led groups, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. Almost in passing, Eligon notes that Jones lives in a home with no electricity and no running water because, he says, she cannot afford to pay for utilities.
Despite the concerns that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department was shutting off the water on poor people in violation of international human rights covenants, WDIV (Channel 4 in Detroit) reported over the weekend that the Water Department is going door-by-door, block-by-block shutting off this basic service on residents who are delinquent in their water paymentssome 1,500 to 2,000 customers a week, according to WDIV. The city says that residents owe over $100 million in unpaid bills. Half of the citys water customers owe more than $150, and the average unpaid water bill is $560.
Across the border, the view of the Hamilton Spectator is that Detroit is becoming like a pioneer town, with no water services for increasing numbers of hard-pressed residents. Although Nonprofit Quarterly was all over this story early on, commenting on the efforts of Detroit-area advocacy groups such as the Peoples Water Coalition as well as Congressman John Conyers to bring this issue to the attention of Congress, the White House, and even the United Nations, the uptake by mainstream network and cable national TV news organizations has been slow. Finally, NBC Nightly News picked up the story just recently.
Something isnt connecting on this story. Comments abound in various places that Detroiters who are behind on their water bills are getting what they deserve, that its time for Detroit to start getting people to pay their water bills, electricity bills, and property taxes. Somehow, the notion that water service is not a discretionary luxury purchase isnt getting through.
Unless plans change, on Monday morning, the Detroit Water Brigade and Congressman Conyers plan to hold a press conference announcing their plan to launch a volunteer drive to deliver immediate relief to thousands of families affected by water shutoffs and advocate for an immediate moratorium on shutoffs and a Water Affordability Plan for all residents. The moratorium is obviously important, but volunteer relief in a city that is already suffering from a dearth of services of all sorts isnt much of a response. The moratorium should be accompanied by state and federal intervention to rectify the situation of residents getting unanticipated delinquency bills, facing higher than expected bills that are all-but-assuredly due to leaking water pipes, and being deprived of a requisite element of civilized society.
We suspect that Congressman Conyers is not going to pin his hopes on volunteers accompanied by the expectation that Detroit Water will have an epiphany of human concern. Governmental actionother than the turn-offs by the Detroit Water Departmentis needed now before a human rights crisis becomes a human rights tragedy
Would like to know why the water is so expensive in Detroit compared to other cities.
I had my water cut off when I was in college. No one seemed to care.
I survived. They will too. Pay your bill or live without it.
But is it?
As long as there are no white farmers.
When did municipal water become free? Am I missing something?
She didn't want to sell to a white person??
From what I have read in recent weeks, yes, and by quite a bit too.
Does she not realize that the real estate market there is worse than Nagasaki two days after the bomb was dropped?
What a freaking joke
It’s definitely racist to not want to sell to whites. She’s holding out for Blacks to make low ball offers, then she’ll sell.
All of this could have been avoided if only the residents of Detroit had had the forethought to elect progressive Democrats to office, instead of the greedy, Republicans that they did elect all these years. Then it would have been unicorns and rainbows.
Wait ... who are you saying was elected?
This isn’t even under “Opinion” for crying out loud
The last thing any distressed place needs is for economically savvy white people to move in.
So says Brian Williams anyway. Here see for yourself....
Same guy wrote this:
The best thing poor detroit people can do is to buy a house, fix it up, and sell it to white people. Then move down a block, by another cheap house, fix it up, and sell it to another white person. After a while, take the profits and run.
It doesn't take genious level intelligence to fix up a house, just some tools and basic knowledge. Both of those can be pooled by the people already there. Team up, buy some tools, get to work.
Now that I figured out how to comment, I want to play with them a bit.
Yet another article crying about the city not paying money into the Non-profits organizations
read that article
It is pretty amazing the coziness between these foundations and state and local government.
But leftists love Third World ideas - why aren’t the liberal elites flocking in?
They seem to be able to pay for anything else they want, just not things they need, like water & electricity. They think that should be given to them.
Amazingly enough my comments on 3 different stories at the site were approved.
My beeber is stuned.
I feel like the house is falling apart, said Ms. Byrd, despairing this spring as she tried to scrounge up $4,500 in overdue taxes to keep the city from taking her familys home and having it become another abandoned property.
Like so many others, the Byrds are barely hanging on. Ms. Byrd works two jobs in elder care, sometimes in 12-hour shifts, and her husband, lives on a police pension that remains subject to the citys bankruptcy negotiations.
Having hit some bad breaks and mismanaged their household budget over the years, the Byrds saw their debts become insurmountable. At one point last year, they fell about $17,000 behind on property taxes and about $60,000 behind in utility, medical and car bills. That forced Ms. Byrd into bankruptcy.*
But her kids are still having babies they obviously can’t afford
Inell Byrd, just home from her job as a health aide, with her eight-month-old granddaughter Cailey, in Detroit’s North End neighborhood, June 28, 2014.
Derlena Hart and her nine-year-old son Christopher Johnson in the kitchen in Detroit's North End neighborhood, June 28, 2014.
Still has a cellphone in her pocket with her roof falling in.
Besides, it ain’t her fault the section-8 landlord don’t come and fix the ceiling...
Inell Byrd in her sun room, with its damaged ceiling, in Detroit, June 28, 2014.
Detroit doesn't have any men who can get off their *ss and fix a roof?!
I worked all week too, over 40 hrs but still found time this weekend to spend 14 hrs working in my yard. And I loved every minute of it including my job. I guess the difference is I like to work.
How is that possible? If I don't pay the light bill for 2 months, they'll turn off the power.
I bet they have a big screen television and video games though.
She still has her cell phone and it looks to be a smart phone which we all know do not come cheap.
LOL....You are sooo funny!!!sarc
ObamaPhones don’t cover smartphones these days?
You can get a wireless plan for $45 or $50 a month these days from companies like Cricket, and others and T-Mobile’s Brightsource.
Don’t most real Africans walk miles each day to get water?
I don’t know about “most” but many do.
Its the white mans fault if you read the article....
Eligon also writes about Banika Jones, a 34-year-old woman living in the North End. After overcoming suspicions of the white social activists coming into her neighborhood,
Apparently these einsteins think money has a color other than green. Getting what they voted for since Coleman Young days...
What about the rights of the people who provide the water? The pipe layers and maintainers, the workers at the purification plant, the reservoir workers, clerical workers, etc etc. They all have a right to be paid. If you don’t pay your bill then they can’t be paid.
Pay your bill, get your water, stfu.
Day-Twaa used to have a block bustin’ operation many decades ago.
You think that wrist can fix a ceiling?
that requires work.... 2 signs a person is afraid of work ... 1.) hand out 2.)hands in pockets
Howz that drug amelioration workin' out?
NON PROFIT is just code word for spending the taxes you pay and having nothing to show for it!
“Pay your bill or live without it.”
I’m buying a house where the water was shut off. They simply filled the toilets with excrement. There’s one pile on the floor.
Two landlords I’ve spoken to have stories of renters that they’re trying to evict using one room as a toilet.
I have seen the same type of behavior on Indian reservations.
Where they fill the basement with garbage starting by throwing it down the steps until that is filled then by cutting holes in the floor.
Then when the basement is full the start on any spare room then when they have no room. They complain the house is unlivable and get the tribe to build them a new one.
Oh my ............
If a person in Detroit turns on the faucet and water comes out and they don’t pay a water bill, that means someone else is paying their water bill.
Neither is the very large flat screen TV and Xbox in the home of one of the "protestors".
Give me a break.
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