The hits keep coming for the people of Flint, where more than 8,000 residents now stand to lose their homes if they don’t pay up on overdue water bills.
Community members told the local NBC News affiliate they started receiving letters from the city threatening tax liens on the homes of residents whose water bills are six or more months delinquent.
Now homeowners have to come up with the money—which for some reportedly runs into the hundreds of dollars—or be thrust into foreclosure proceedings after the May 19 deadline.
The crackdown by cash-strapped city officials comes after Republican Gov. Rick Synder ended state subsidies for Flint residents’ water bills at the end of February, a move criticized by local officials who say that even though Flint’s water is now safe to drink with a filter, community members are still afraid to drink the water.
The city confirmed that shut-off notices and threats of tax liens went out to residents, basically saying that Flint can’t keep providing the community its water at a financial loss.
“We have to have revenue coming in, so we can’t give people revenue, I mean excuse me, give people water at the tap and not get revenue coming in to pay those bills,” Al Mooney, of Flint’s treasury department, told the news station.
Melissa Mays, a Flint mother and organizer, said even after all she’s been through since the city’s water crisis began, receiving a letter informing her she must pay $900 to avoid a lien struck fear into her heart.
“I got scared, for probably the first time since this all started, this actually scared me,” Mays told NBC25 News.