Another round of Detroit water shutoffs coming; city offers help

Image 1 of 4

Detroit residents who have delinquent  water bills are lining up to avoid service shutoffs the city has scheduled to start this week.

Initially, city officials said shutoffs would start Monday but they have decided to give residents one more day to make payment arrangements.

"There are about 20,000 people that are in the que and that are over the dollar threshold and could be shut off," said Gary Brown with the city of Detroit's water department.

But more time does not mean avoiding payment. City officials say there are payment plans available to help residents get current and stay on track.

A plan for low income customers is called WRAP.

"We will come into your home and do an audit, we will spend up to $1,000 if you qualify on fixing repairs that you can get an average payment," Brown said. "And we'll help you with your payment.... As  by giving you $25 a month as assistance."

As city officials work to collect payment, civil rights organizations and attorneys continue their lawsuit against water shutoffs.

"We're hopeful that the Sixth Circuit Court will reverse findings at the trial level and there will be an opportunity to fully and fairly litigate these issues  .... and that we will bring an end to the threat of termination," said Mark Fancher, ACLU attorney.

But city officials maintain they continue to work to keep residents connected despite their financial woes.

"Over the next 10 years there is $40 million in dedicated assistance to help people in the city and region with their payments," Brown said.