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flint water crisis

Flint is threatening 8,000 foreclosures over unpaid water bills

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis is far from resolved — and for thousands of families in the area, it may soon get much worse.

Flint's city government has sent out warning letters to 8,002 households in the area threatening foreclosure over water bills residents have not paid for six months or more. The letter recipients aren't in trouble for being behind on their mortgages; if the families lose their homes, it will be via a city tax lien over their unpaid utility bills.

For some who received the warning, paying the bill is a financial problem, but for others it's a matter of principle: Flint's water quality is on the rise since it began buying water from Detroit, but many of the city's lead supply pipes will not be fixed or replaced for several years. "While I understand this is the way the law reads, we are in a totally different situation," said Flint's Melissa Mays, who received the notice and plans to pay her $900 bill to avoid foreclosure, even though she believes the city's threat is unfair given the circumstances.

City officials argue the foreclosure warnings are necessary because the city needs the revenue and cannot give water away for free. A number of officials involved in the water crisis face criminal charges.