was formed in January, 2016, in response to the Flint Water Crisis. After meeting and working with several organizations and agencies providing services in Flint, Crossing Water founders Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter realized that there was still a need for targeted social work intervention. Much of the assistance being provided to residents at that time, when it was available, was focused on delivering water and other supplies; there was not a group that would cross the threshold of the homes to engage with the residents on a deeper level and to provide intensive education, instruction, and referrals. Working with the Michigan chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Michael and Laurie created such volunteer teams led by social workers to respond quickly to identified needs in the community such as the need for bottled water, filters, or filter cartridges, or medical, safety, or other household needs. In a number of houses our volunteer teams visited, the plumbing was either broken, leaking, or otherwise incompatible with the filters we were to install; in those homes, we installed new faucets to create the infrastructure necessary for the filter installation. What is provided during our Rapid Response Service Team (RRST) visits:
- Bottled water
- Filter installation and education
- Replacement filter cartridges
- Faucet replacement, when applicable
- Other resources, when applicable: food, diapers, formula, wipes, toiletries, children’s books, etc.
- Drinking water safety education
- Water testing education and materials
- Education about and referrals for services (e.g., nutrition and food security, infant mental health, early childhood programs, Medicaid expansion)What does your donation provide?
$10 provides a case of water or a replacement filter cartridge
$25 buys a faucet filter
$30 buys a new faucet
$280 provides one week’s worth of water for a family of 4
$395 funds a RRST visit, faucet, filter, extra cartridge, and water for a week
Our goal with this fundraiser is to raise enough money to fund 1000 more RRST visits.
Crossing Water focuses our work on the most vulnerable families in Flint: families with children, babies, pregnant women, homebound individuals, the elderly, and others with special needs. While our primary focus has been and continues to be water-related, we are very much aware of the high level of need in the city, and address needs as they arise and as we are able; for examples, in addition to the installation of hundreds of filters, our volunteers have installed a furnace, built porches, performed critical home repairs, and provided transportation assistance. We cannot provide everything to everyone, but everyone we visit will get everything we have. Successes
- Providing Water:
Since we started working in Flint, our Rapid Response Service Teams have distributed well over 20,000 gallons of water to some of the most vulnerable residents in the city.
- Becoming a Trusted Community Resource:
In the course of our work, we have visited over 568 families, making over 1,000 home visits. Residents have become very familiar with our work and what we are able to provide, and often refer our services to others in need.
- Education and Empowerment:
Information sharing throughout the Flint Water Crisis has been confusing and piecemeal. One of our most important tasks has been to give families reliable education about the unfolding crisis, and to educate and train them on proper filter usage. Our goal is always to provide residents with whatever resources they need to become as self-reliant as possible.
- Legal Advocacy:
We testified in the case brought against the State by the ACLU, NRDC, Concerned Pastors of Flint, and Melissa Mays. Based on the data that we collect on each of our visits, we were able to help prove that the State was derelict in its response to the crisis, and that a great many residents lacked filters or the knowledge to use and maintain them properly. The judge granted an emergency injunction that required the State to more closely attend to the needs of all Flint residents, with water delivery, filter installation, and education. Our involvement in the case, the data we provided to the judge, was critical to the granting of the injunction, and also the ultimate settlement of the case, which took place in March, 2017. The settlement guarantees that the lead pipes will be replace within three years, it puts into place critical drinking water–testing programs, it guarantees the expansion and maintenance of the state's filter installation program, and it provides continued funding for existing health programs to help residents deal with the aftermath of the water crisis.
We have done all of this with the support of individuals like you! Thank you for viewing our fundraiser, and thank you for any support you can provide.
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