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Volunteers Help Accelerate Flint Pipe Replacement

Michigan has set aside about $27 million for pipe replacement in Flint. (Pixababy)
Michigan has set aside about $27 million for pipe replacement in Flint. (Pixababy)
November 7, 2016

FLINT, Mich. -- Volunteers with AARP Michigan are going the extra mile to help Flint residents impacted by the city's water crisis. As work continues to replace lead service lines between streets and homes, dozens of volunteers are going door-to-door, getting consent forms signed to help expedite the process.

AARP Michigan state director Paula Cunningham said they've knocked on more than 500 doors already and the response from Flint residents has been overwhelming.

"I wish I had the words to describe the kind of response we get when we knock on the doors,” Cunningham said. "We've seen everything from a woman crying who said, in her words, we're doing god's work to a gentlemen who just literally raised his shirt and then showed us the rash which he attributed to the lead in the water and just gave us a big hug."

AARP conducted a survey this summer of older Flint residents, which revealed that many feel pipe replacement is the biggest priority in addressing the water crisis. Mayor Karen Weaver recently announced that 800 homes will receive new water pipes in phase three of the FAST Start Initiative.

AARP is making a long-term commitment to continue outreach to residents when it comes to pipe replacement and other water-related issues, Cunningham said. And when volunteers come knocking, she asks residents to open their doors.

"It will really help if folks will let the volunteers in and sign those forms,” she said. "Brigideeer General [Michael] McDaniel has said that they can do hundreds more homes once they get these forms signed so please be responsive to the knock on the door if you see an AARP volunteer."

Michigan has set aside about $27 million for pipe replacement in the city. About 200 lines already have been replaced.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI