Guest Editorial … Our neighbors need help with water bills

By Rev. Cass Charrette
People’s Water Board Coalition Board Member

Thanks to our youth who use their creativity to meet human needs in our community!
Another need requiring caring response is that of affordable water for our residents with limited incomes.
After many years of a moratorium being in place due to the pandemic, the city’s Water Department began shutting water off in locations where no one came to make a payment plan or sign up for an assistance program over a delinquent bill.
Thanks to the Water Department and the Hamtramck Review, information about the WRAP program has been published-in English. Flyers were created to include four income-based financial resource programs that are translated into Arabic and Bangla in addition to English.
These are being distributed to those who have been shut-off by volunteers recruited by Hamtramck Mutual Aid, Hamtramck Community Initiative and the People’s Water Board Coalition (PWBC). Large buttons with the PWBC logo will be worn by these volunteers.
However, the volunteers’ door to door effort is far outpaced by the daily number of shutoffs. Help to share these valuable resources is needed! Training by the PWBC will be provided online.
If you are an organization or Mosque/place of worship, please share this with your network.
Contact the PWBC hotline at 833-882-7766 to leave contact information if you’re willing to assist. Bilingual speakers are particularly needed
Thanks also to our Hamtramck Library for their willingness to assist people in filling out forms to apply for resources — as long as they have the staff available.
They’re located at 2360 Caniff and are open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mornings are especially good in terms of their availability.
It’s difficult to know why individuals are not coming in to apply for these programs that can pay their water arrearages or to make a payment plan to turn their water back on.
It could be a language issue or perhaps feeling shame for one’s financial circumstances. Water is essential to life! Families are not able to bathe, flush toilets, and much more without running water.
Please think of how you can be a good neighbor by being sensitive to those burdened by lack of running water, by sharing information discreetly and, if you can, volunteer to provide direct assistance or to work on a water billing system which is affordable for all our residents.
Posted Aug. 5, 2022

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