Residents in an apartment complex in Flint, Michigan have been without water since about 2 p.m. ET yesterday (March 23), when the city shut off its water supply due to the building’s outstanding water bill.
This is the first major shut off in the city of nearly 100,000, which has been dealing with a water crisis since 2014 when lead-tainted water began running from their faucets. The city confirmed on February 15 that the shut-offs would begin this spring after the state decided to end by March its subsidy program that picked up the city’s water tab. Residents are now upset at having to pay for water that is still contaminated—the reason households stopped paying their bills in the first place.
Lakeside Apartments has 42 units but only three are occupied, according to The Detroit Free Press. The landlord hadn’t paid the water bill for months and now owes more than $60,000, resulting in the water shut-off. Apparently, the landlord also stopped paying for trash pick-up services.
David Martinez, who lives at Lakeside Apartments, spoke to the Free Press about how this change would impact him. While most people in Flint still don’t use the tap water for cooking or drinking purposes, Martinez’s family did use it for washing dishes and flushing the toilet.
Now, Martinez and his family are looking at what to do next, with the help of the Genesee Health System since he and his wife are on disability, per the Free Press. Their fixed income won’t make a move possible, reports The Flint Journal. They’ll be one of the few remaining families there.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver announced Monday (March 20) that she’d be shutting water off for this apartment building. Up to 18 residences face shut-offs starting April 4 for not making at least five months’ worth of payments. In most cases, it’s been two to three years, the city notes.
“I understand this is a difficult situation for many people, and we as city leaders are facing some hard decisions as well,” Weaver said in a online statement. “I got in this fight because of the unfair and unjust situation that Flint residents are faced with, from high water rates to non-tap drinkable water. I understand the frustration of residents. While I was not sitting in this seat that I’m in now when this man-made disaster began, I assure residents that I have not and will not stop looking for ways to right the wrongs that have been caused.”