United Way partners with Flint to help residents behind on water - WNEM TV 5

United Way partners with Flint to help residents behind on water bills

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A generous gift is giving residents coping through the ongoing water crisis more help paying off water bills.

Earlier this month thousands of Flint residents received letters stating they could lose their homes for unpaid water and sewer bills.

"That's three people in my house and I'm being charged $150 a month for water," said Robin Camp, resident.

Camp said she only uses tap water to shower, wash clothes and flush toilets. She still pays more for water than energy. Now she is behind on her water bill by $600.

"Because people can't catch up now," Camp said.

She said she had a month to come up with the money before the city put a lien on her home.

"I gave them like $200 a month to catch up, but you know I gotta live too," Camp said.

Jamie Gaskin heads the United Way of Genesee County, which recently partnered with the city to expand a program to help people with their water bills. The program helps people who fall within 150 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

For a family of four, 150 percent of the federal poverty level is roughly $36,900.

"The very lowest income folks to help them get back into paying for their water because again, at a certain point we're all going to have to pay to support this system and we're going to have to do that together," Gaskin said.

The program offers a single or double match to what someone can afford to pay towards their bill. It caps out at $350 a person. This will help cut some people's water bills by as much as two-thirds.

As for Camp, she said she never thought she would be in the position to ask for any help but could use help to get caught up with her water bill.

"I am not really that kind of person to have to do that, but they're making me have to do this in order to keep my house," she said.

To get water bill assistance you must contact the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department at 810-244-8557.

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