FLINT, Mich. —City officials are pleased to announce a plan is in place to continue home delivery of bottled water to residents with access and functional needs (AFN), and provide bottled water at four water distribution sites, as well as 10 pick-up locations across the City of Flint. The plan is the result of a partnership between the City, State, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and several community groups.
As Mayor Weaver announced in late July, due to the settlement agreement reached in the Concerned Pastors for Social Action case, if Flint’s water quality met federal testing requirements for two consecutive 6-month monitoring periods, the state could begin gradually closing the PODs (points of distribution), with all the sites possibly closed by September. Water quality tests show Flint’s water has met federal requirements for over a year.
“We are glad the water quality in Flint is improving,” said Weaver. “However, residents have made it clear that they are still concerned about the health and well-being of our community, should bottled water and filters stop being provided. I relayed those concerns to the governor and we negotiated a plan to have four PODs remain open indefinitely, one on each side of town. And with help from many of our community leaders the home deliveries of bottled water will continue as well.”
Under the new structure, oversight of water distribution will transition from the State of Michigan to the City of Flint’s leadership, with support from community groups and organizations. The new plan includes the existing four PODs located at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church (1st Ward), Franklin Ave. Lot (4th Ward), West Court Street Church of God (6th Ward), and Eastown Bowling Alley (9th Ward). It also includes the continuation of home deliveries to more than 2,100 residents with either access or functional needs (AFN).
Several community partners have committed to continue AFN deliveries as many of the groups have previously been conducting home deliveries in an unofficial capacity. Community partners include: Asbury United Methodist Church, Calvary United Methodist Church, Greater Holy Temple, Now Ministries, Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist, Salem Lutheran Church, Second Chance Church, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and Veterans of Now. Residents will receive up to 16 cases of water per month.
Residents with questions about AFN water deliveries can call the new Home Delivery Hotline at 810-410-1138. Additionally, mini-POD water pick up stations have been established. Locations include: Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, El Shaddai Ministries, Joy Tabernacle, Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist, Salem Lutheran Church and Vernon Chapel. Several locations serving the senior population will also receive bottled water, including: Slidell Senior Apartments, Rosehaven Manor and Court Street Village.
“This was a big undertaking,” said Jameca Patrick-Singleton, Chief Recovery Officer for the City of Flint. “We knew we had to secure help from community groups to continue to provide this service to Flint residents. We reached out to several groups that had been providing water to residents, and we also contacted some new organizations. Once we knew who was on board, we held a series of meetings and came up with a plan we believe will work well.”
Under the direction of the City, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will now serve as the commodities distribution leader. Operation of the four PODs will transition from the State to the Food Bank. Effective September 18, 2017, the Food Bank will provide logistical support to ensure bottled water is supplied to the various distribution sites in Flint.
“When the water crisis hit, the Food Bank was uniquely positioned to handle the influx of water shipments arriving daily in Flint, as well as the additional distribution needed within the city,” said William E. Kerr, President of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “Our role has continued to be providing the logistics for warehousing, transporting, and distributing water throughout Flint. Now, as a contracted partner with the State of Michigan and the City of Flint, the Food Bank will continue to serve as the distribution hub for water as well as filters and cartridges. The Food Bank remains dedicated to the mission of fighting hunger and helping build community solutions to community problems. Our involvement in the water recovery efforts reflects our commitment to our mission and the health and well-being of all.”
The State of Michigan will continue to supply bottled water for all of the water distribution sites, AFN home deliveries, as well as the water filters distributed. Additionally, the State will cover the cost of the contract with the Food Bank.
“Flint’s water quality has been restored and the delivery system has stabilized,” said Richard Baird, Senior Advisor to Governor Snyder. “However, we also understand and want to be sensitive and responsive to residents’ concerns. We are grateful to the community partners for their leadership and for stepping forward to allow residents additional time to prepare for the ultimate transition to using only filtered water while pipe replacement is underway.”
Workers hired and trained by GST Michigan Works! through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will remain in place through March 2018, so many of the delivery drivers and workers will remain the same.
The United Way of Genesee County has provided a $40,000 grant to assist the community partners serving as mini-pod locations and providing AFN home deliveries. The United Way will also serve as the fiduciary for funding to support the new distribution plan.
“The continued distribution of bottled water in Flint won’t be exactly the same as before,” said Patrick-Singleton. “Some deliveries will occur once a month, instead of once a week for example. But, the important thing is that bottled water will continue being provided, which is what residents wanted. We want to thank the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, the United Way, and all the local groups and organizations that have partnered with us to make this happen.”
The “Call for CORE” (Community Outreach and Resident Education) Program will continue to serve as a resource for residents. CORE teams have knocked on nearly 370,000 doors and had nearly 114,000 conversations with residents to ensure they are installing, using and maintaining their water filters properly and are aware of other available resources. Residents can call 810-238-6700 with questions about filter usage or to schedule a home visit by a CORE member.
The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will also continue to operate the three existing Help Centers in Flint located at Asbury United Methodist Church, Bethel United Methodist United Church, and Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. Residents can visit the centers to obtain food, bottled water, and other health outreach services.
More information, maps and updates on the new water distribution plan is available on the City of Flint website at https://www.cityofflint.com/water-sites/.