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AARP Volunteers to Help with Flint Pipe Replacement

Volunteers wearing red hope to cut some of the red tape for Flint residents to have water pipes replaced. (M. Hornbeck/AARP MI)
Volunteers wearing red hope to cut some of the red tape for Flint residents to have water pipes replaced. (M. Hornbeck/AARP MI)
April 28, 2017

FLINT, Mich. – Thousands of Flint homes still need to have their water lines replaced, an effort that will have volunteers fanning out across the city this weekend.

Before crews can begin to work on the pipes, homeowners must sign consent forms, and on Saturday, volunteers led by AARP Michigan will again go door-to-door helping to get that paperwork in order.

AARP Michigan State Director Paula Cunningham says it's understandable that, three years into the Flint water crisis, many residents are frustrated and skeptical.

"There is a little bit of a trust factor in Flint, in terms of whose voice the residents want to listen to, and we have found that AARP has become a trusted resource," she explained.

Last fall, AARP Michigan was able to reach 500 residents during a similar effort. This year the goal is to knock on doors at 6,000 homes between this weekend and additional canvassing days scheduled for the coming months.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find more information at www.AARP.org/mi.

Cunningham says it's critical to get the word out that replacing the pipes is the only long-term solution.

"Some residents are telling us, 'Oh, but my water has been tested,'" she said. "Well, that's because they have a filter on it. We just want to make certain that each person knows that, regardless of whether your water has tested clean or not, you still have to have your pipes replaced."

The door-to-door effort is the result of several "listening sessions" and surveys AARP Michigan conducted with Flint residents last year to determine how to best help respond to the crisis.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI