GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- AARP Michigan has joined the Flint Water Crisis response team as a trusted resource to assist residents with the lead pipe replacement and to act as an information clearinghouse for older adults in the city.
Volunteers for the non-profit organization, with 1.4 million members in the state, will go door-to-door to help residents on the pipe replacement schedule complete consent forms. Homeowners and residents must give their permission to have lead service lines replaced between the street and the house before work can begin.
“We are delighted to play a role in helping the people of Flint get their lead pipes replaced, a crucial step in resolving this crisis,” said Paula D. Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director. “AARP is making a long-term commitment to facilitate communications related to pipe replacement and to provide important information on water-related issues.”
The effort will include outreach to residents through a variety of communication channels, including television, mail, newspapers and social media.
Retired Brigadier General Michael McDaniel, who is overseeing pipe replacement through Flint’s FAST Start Initiative, said: “The city is very appreciative of AARP’s willingness to serve Flint residents and assist with notifications of the upcoming efforts to replace their lead and lead-galvanized services lines.”
Pipe replacement will happen more quickly if residents are prepared to answer their doors for AARP volunteers, and to sign the required consent cards, McDaniel said.
AARP volunteers will be identifiable. More specific communication will be shared prior to the deployment of AARP volunteers in the neighborhoods scheduled for pipe replacement.
The state has set aside $27 million for replacement of pipes at thousands of Flint homes and businesses. About 200 lead service lines have been replaced so far.
An AARP survey of 700 Flint residents age 60 and older conducted in June indicated that pipe replacement between the curb and the house was far and away their No. 1 priority in addressing the water crisis. During listening sessions in Flint, residents said they would prefer to get information and assistance through organizations they trust.