On Sept. 7, the ACLU sent a follow-up letter to the Saginaw City Council, City Manager, and the Director of Neighborhood Services and Inspections, urging officials to share specific information to residents regarding how long the moratorium on water shutoffs will last, and any conditions that might cause the City to resume shutting off residents' water service.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAGINAW, Mich. - On July 12 a civil rights coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) sent a letter on behalf of Saginaw residents to the Saginaw City Council, City Manager, and the Director of Neighborhood Services and Inspections, urging officials to issue a permanent moratorium on water shutoffs and condemnation of homes for unpaid water bills.
On June 15, 2021, Saginaw City officials resumed water shutoffs for families with unpaid water bills, and while shutoffs are paused temporarily until July 15, 2021, the coalition is deeply concerned about these shutoff practices during a pandemic which also likely violate the Fair Housing Act, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment among other laws.
The coalition and Saginaw residents urge the city to:
- End all water shutoffs in the City of Saginaw, and provide free reconnections for all disconnected residents, as well as impose a permanent water shutoff moratorium.
- Discontinue citations for municipal civil violations, or fees of any kind, to Saginaw residents for matters related to their water utility status.
- Cessation of use of tax liens as a means of collection and for removal of Saginaw residents because of their water utility status.
- Commence a City Council investigation of repeated efforts of city staff to deny due process concerning water shutoffs, evictions, municipal civil infractions, etc.