Welcome to the website of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management!

You may be wondering…

What’s going on with Detroit’s water shutoffs? Why don’t Detroiters just pay their bills?

It is not the case that Detroiters are “dumb, lazy, happy and rich,” in the words of former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. In fact, Detroiters have willingly voted themselves the highest taxes in the state in order to provide for their schools, parks, community colleges, museums, zoo, and art programs.

The reality is that since the year 2000, water and sewage rates have dramatically increased in Detroit. During the same time period, poverty worsened among Detroit’s poorest residents, making water bills unaffordable.

But I thought the Mayor has created assistance plans for people who can’t pay?

It is true that the Mayor has employed an assistance plan for people behind on their water bills. However, the Mayor’s plan has been an abysmal failure, with only 300 of the 24,743 customers put on the mayor’s payment plan able to keep up with their payments and ensure their water will keep flowing. However, providing assistance is different than making water bills affordable. Many Detroiters are now paying more than 20% of their incomes for water. Assistance programs, which provide cash to some people to try to help pay their water bills, do not make water rates affordable long-term. Unsurprisingly,