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Residents Line Up For 'Detroit Water Fair' To Make Arrangements Before Shutoffs Resume

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit gave its residents one last chance to make payment arrangements or access help before shut-offs resume next week.

The "Water Fair" held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cobo Center downtown gave residents a chance to get all the information they need to catch up on their payments.

"The goal of the fair is to get as many people as possible current on their water bill. Don't wait until shut-offs resume," said Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement.

Dozens of DWSD customer care personnel were on site to accept payments and enter residents into the 10/30/50 payment plan. Customers needed to bring a valid, government-issued ID, pay as little as 10 percent of their delinquent bill and have 24 months to pay off the rest to make sure their water is no longer in danger of being turned off.

Sue McCormick, the Director of the Water and Sewerage Department, explained how the Fair could help some residents seeking information.

"We hope that the efforts that we're making to give people advanced notice, both in terms of their bill statements, but also in terms of the door hangers now," McCormick said. " For instance, anyone who's going to be subject to shutoff on Tuesday had a tag hung on their door last Tuesday."

Customers could also apply for assistance through the Detroit Water Fund. United Way was on hand to help fill out applications; customers who wish to apply should bring social security numbers and proof of income for all members of their household. The Detroit Water Fund received $200,000 in donations from the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, the Ford Foundation and the GM Foundation earlier this week.

Angela Billy was among hundreds of people are lined up for the Water Fair as people tried to get assistance with their water bills by signing up for payment plans.

"I lost my job three years ago and then I had an aneurysm rupture last year and I just have not been able to work to keep up with the bill," Billy said.

Residents were also encouraged to visit the almost 20 other community services organizations who will be at the Cobo Water Fair. Customers also learned ways to save water and money and find help with other needs like food, housing, and health care. Special assistance was also available to seniors and veterans.

"We have other service partners here today that will assist people if they are having problems with high bills and maybe there's a problem going on in their home," McCormick said. "We have people here today that will help them kind of figure that issue out and get their bills down into a more manageable range."

The shut-off moratorium expires on Monday.

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