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Detroit, Flint to get another $1.2M for water assistance

The scene at the station this morning. The original faucet had been modified.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
The scene at the station this morning. The original faucet had been modified.

There’s now a larger pot of money to help households struggling to pay water bills in Detroit and Flint. It comes from the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Water Residential Assistance Program, known as WRAP.

The GLWA board had $1.2 million dollars in WRAP funds dedicated to other communities left over from its last budget year. So it’s channeling that money into Detroit and Flint, where the need is greatest.

The WRAP program provides direct monthly assistance with water bills, and helps lower costs with plumbing fixes and other water conservation measures.

Jon Wheatley, GLWA’s public finance manager, says that additional money should help about 1000 more households who qualify for the program

“We’re looking at about an additional 800 customers for the assistance piece of it, and probably an additional 200 on the conservation side,” he said.

Wheatley says that will help, but it won’t meet the total need for water assistance in the two cities.

“I don’t have an idea of what the total is, but I just know that it’s not enough,” Wheatley said.

WRAP has been running in Detroit and some suburbs since 2016. Flint residents can apply starting next month.

Participants need to apply and qualify for WRAP.To qualify, your income must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty line, and applicants must provide proof of residency and income, and renters must prove they are responsible for their water bills.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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