CHICAGO April 19 (Xinhua) -- Detroit's water department began shutting off water supply on Wednesday, threatening nearly 18,000 local households who failed to pay their bills, according to local media reports on Wednesday.
Director of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Gary Brown said his department resume shutoffs after giving out notices 10 days ago. According to reports, he also said every resident in Detroit has a path to avoid shutoff by asking for assistance or getting enrolled in a payment plan.
The department noted that while close to 18,000 households are threatened by the shutoffs, most contacted the water department prior to scheduled shutoffs to make a payment or enroll in an assistance plan.
But Sylvia Orduno from Michigan Welfare Rights Organization argued that the assistance plans provided by the city failed to bring long-term relief to those families, which resulted in thousands of people facing water shutoff every year. The group and others have called on the city to shift to a broader affordability plan.
The city has pumped nearly 5 million U.S. dollars to the assistance program since March 2016, with 5,766 Detroit households enrolled, according to Detroit's water department.