Flint church helping residents with water bills - WNEM TV 5

Flint church helping residents with water bills

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Hundreds - if not thousands - of people in Flint continue to struggle paying off their huge water bills for water many say is still not trustworthy.

"I feel I shouldn't have to pay a water bill," said Latasha Simpkins, Flint residents.

She is not the only resident refusing to pay for water they can't safely drink.

"You can't cook rice cause you gotta warm up the water," Simpkins said.

She said the water has given her children rashes, so she doesn't allow them to bathe in it either.

"You can't wash your hands. You can't wash your face, or your face is breaking out before you're boiling the water. So it's a lot of stuff. You have to do extra preparing for your kids," Simpkins said.

With water bills worth hundreds of dollars, shut off notices and tax liens on hand - families are flocking to outside organizations for help.

"We had some families who had been shut off for three to four weeks," said Juani Olivares, with the Genesee County Hispanic/Latino Collaborative.

Woodside Church is now partnering with the Genesee County Hispanic/Latino Collaborative to help people like Simpkins.

Olivares said the church has been working to gather resources to help people recover from a crisis they did not create.

"It's not obviously their fault. Everybody has a different situation. So we're here to help with what we can," Olivares said.

Every Thursday people can go to the church for water assistance. More than 200 people showed up on June 1.

The amount of help varies from case to case, but the church is working to get people out of the red.

In Simpkins' case, she has racked up a bill about $1,500. Until Flint's water is clean enough to drink without filters, she said no one in Flint should have to pay for water.

"I think we need to be evacuated. Treat us like a real crisis. They evacuate everyone else," Simpkins said.

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