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Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Detroit water fund gets $200,000 in donations

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Photo - Detroit mayor Mike Duggan speaks at a press conference Thursday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Detroit, as city council president Brenda Jones, right, looks on.  The mayor announced that $200,000 has been donated to the Detroit Water Fund by United Way, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. (AP Photo/The Detroit News,Robin Buckson)
Detroit mayor Mike Duggan speaks at a press conference Thursday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Detroit, as city council president Brenda Jones, right, looks on. The mayor announced that $200,000 has been donated to the Detroit Water Fund by United Way, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. (AP Photo/The Detroit News,Robin Buckson)
News,Business,Detroit,Michigan,Budgets and Deficits

DETROIT (AP) — Two auto companies and the United Way announced $200,000 in donations Monday to help Detroit residents pay overdue water bills after criticism about the city's aggressive shut-off policy.

Water shut-offs related to unpaid bills have been suspended since July 21 but will resume after Aug. 25.

The new Detroit Water Fund will pay up to 25 percent of an overdue bill. To qualify, a customer must owe $300 or more, pay at least 10 percent up front and meet other conditions, based on income.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan is contributing $100,000 to the fund, while the Ford Motor Fund and the General Motors Foundation are giving $50,000 each. More donors will be identified in the coming days.

"They have let Detroiters know they are not alone and their generous donations will be able to immediately begin assisting residents," Mayor Mike Duggan said in a written statement.

Duggan encouraged Detroit residents to contact the city about payment plans and avoid a shut-off. Another opportunity is scheduled for Saturday at Cobo Center.

The issue gained national attention in June when activists appealed to the United Nations for assistance. About 2,000 people protested in Detroit in July during a national convention of liberal Democrats.

The water department stopped service to about 7,200 homes and businesses in June, compared to 1,570 in the same month last year. Water was restored to 43 percent after customers paid or worked out payment plans, though thousands more have been affected since last fall.

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Online:

Fund: http://bit.ly/1pFlujz

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