Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Program to Keep the Water Running, Receives $1 Million Donation

With about 21,000 residents due to receive shut-off notices, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) announced over the weekend that The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) had received a $1 million donation  aimed at helping City residents pay their water bills. 

The money was donated by Miller Buckfire, a New York investment firm that help shepherd Detroit through its historic bankruptcy in 2013-14 and earned $22 million in fees.

According to CEO, Saunteel Jenkins, the donation will be used for THAW's Water Assistance Program, which will launch on June 1, 2015. The program will pay up to $2,500 per household for families that are subject to shut-off and have incomes at 200% of the federal poverty level.  The new program will help about 1,000 families

News reports here indicate that Miller Buckfire's donation was part of a settlement it reached in December, 2014 with the City of Detroit, which had disputed its fees as part of the City's Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding. During mediation ordered by Judge Rhodes, Miller Buckfire reduced its fees from $28 to $22 million. 

Comment: I don't mean to diminish this significant contribution, but helping 1,000 families accounts for less than 5% of the households facing shut-off. There is nearly $49 million owed on delinquent accounts. There simply has to be a better long-term solution to the City's residential water needs.

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1 comment:

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