#DetroitWater campaign wants you to pay residents’ past-due bills

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A new online campaign is helping Detroit residents keep their water turned on, even if they are behind on their bills.

The Detroit Water Project connects donors with Detroit residents who are delinquent on their water payments. The social network app lets donors submit direct payments to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

The campaign’s #DetroitWater hashtag is helping to spread the word about the initiative, and it has been tweeted thousands of times. More than 300 Detroit residents have registered for the Detroit Water Project, and the campaign has received contributions from 2,400 donors.

The city’s ongoing practice of shutting off the water of Detroiters who have bills over 60 days past due or owe at least $150 has sparked controversy. Last week, on the one-year anniversary of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing, residents took to the streets to protest the city’s water shutoffs.

In June, the United Nations released a statement calling Detroit’s disconnection of water services to thousands of customers an affront to human rights. Citing the struggling city’s high poverty and unemployment rates, the UN said the shutoffs for Detroiters who genuinely can’t afford to pay off their bills a is violation of the right to water.

On Monday, the water shutoffs were temporarily suspended for a 15-day grace period.

The founders of the Detroit Water Project met and conceived of the project over Twitter. Engineer and Code for America fellow Tiffani Bell, and Kristy Tillman, a design director for a start up, collaborated remotely from Oakland and Boston. Three days after their initial tweet back and forth, Bell and Tillman had their first donor on the site.

“We wanted a way to make immediate impact to provide relief to Detroit residents,” said Tillman, noting that many existing crowdfunding options require recipients to wait until the end of a campaign to receive the donations. “Technology is merely a tool. How it’s used depends on who’s wielding it.”


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  • Nuclear Mike

    “Since last year, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has been turning off water at the homes of customers behind on their bills. The shut-off campaign comes at a time of crisis and hastened recovery for Detroit, which became the largest American city to ever file for bankruptcy last summer. The value of the bonds associated with the water department’s debt comes to $5.7 billion, which constitutes almost one-third of the amount estimated to have pushed Detroit into bankruptcy.”

    Who has a spare $5.7Billion to pay off the Detroit water bonds? Take a few $billion$ from Huntsville’s Project Share to pay off Detroit’s disastrous mis-management???

    The time is here for each & every American City to be prepared to face the reality of the lack of growth, increasing property taxes, past real estate greed and failed social programs that have reduced the GNP of each city until the city cannot support itself and fails.

    We need less property taxes, affordable utilities and a balance in our City Government here or we will proceed down the road to the BIG BUBBLE BURST of a City Government bankruptcy just like Birmingham & Jefferson County or worse!!!

    • Nuclear Mike

      …and the UN wants to run our local governments just like the UN wants to re-classify private land ownership into the terms of “real estate” being of commercial and no longer having private ownership rights anymore?

  • What You Say?

    So when are the clintons and obamas going to step in and donate from their millions? After all, they get millions in advances for books that barely sold, plus hundreds of thousands for “speaking” for an hour with all expenses paid. I’m sure that would help pay for the 300 residents that signed up late more than $150, thats a drop in the bucket compared to their speech income, heck even the daughter now commands at least that per “speech”. “They didn’t earn it after all”, or maybe they will say “what difference does it make!?”. Or perhaps when the Fundraiser in Chief is at his fundraiser, raise some funds to help those people who voted for “hope” and “change”? Better yet, maybe michelle can ask some of those “big fat checks” she asked for directed to Detroit?

  • Juan

    Get a Job! That’s the Solution! NO MORE Dem-o-crap Lib Handouts.! You don’t work, You don’t Eat!!

  • TruthLivesHere

    The bottom line is this : If you can’t pay your bill, then your service gets discontinued. But of course, the freeloaders and leaches think someone owes them a free ride.

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