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NAACP Denounce Public Utility Shut Offs

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has determined clean water is necessary for human health. Denial of clean water creates untenable challenges not only for personal hygiene, but also compromises a person's effort to be in good health; and

WHEREAS, low income households face some of the greatest health challenges even without the interruption of clean water service; and

WHEREAS, households in low income communities are financially challenged to meet daily costs of living; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended consumer households should not be expected to pay more than 2.5% of the residential users household income for water and services; and

WHEREAS, public utilities throughout the United States lack reasonable, credible, effective processes for the provision of water and sewerage services to low income, indigent, and/or delinquent households; and

WHEREAS, public utilities also lack reasonable, credible, or effective processes for bringing delinquent households current in the payment of utility bills; and

WHEREAS, public utilities must share responsibility for its financial condition because bad investments, including disastrous interest rate swaps and bad bond deals are factors in the financial condition of utilities; and

WHEREAS, the states throughout the U.S. have a responsibility to assist low income and poor households to meet basic needs and standards of living. Such assistance should include adequately funding assistance programs for the financially challenged; and

WHEREAS, for instance in Detroit, Michigan the Department of Water and Sewerage (DWSD) has plans to weekly cut-off the clean water supply of nearly 3,000 of the poorest households in the city of Detroit; and

WHEREAS, DWSD shut-offs will disproportionately affect African American households; and

WHEREAS, water shut-offs could cause a health crisis amongst many African American households and/or the general public; and

WHEREAS, the DWSD and other utility companies nationwide shut offs are being done solely to impact the financial "bottom line" of the utility; and

WHEREAS, nationally utility companies have allowed assistance programs such as the Detroit Resident Water Assistance Program (DRWAP), the WAVE program, or the THAW programs to be underfunded or their availability inadequately publicized.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) calls upon utility services to create policies and programs that prevent low income and/or senior residents from having their utility services terminated or interrupted due to an inability to pay because of their financial conditions.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that in creating these policies the utility service should be consistent with the United Nations Resolution on Water and Sanitation.