Officials say Water Residential Assistance Program is not out of money for Detroiters in need

Posted: 5:53 PM, Aug 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-19 01:02:12-04

Officials at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are setting the record straight: the Water Residential Assistance Program, known as WRAP, was not in danger of losing money.

“We are here because there is a question as to whether there is enough funding to fund this great program and I am telling you we are not out of funding,” said DWSD director Gary Brown.  “This is a very successful program.  It’s being modeled around the country.  It is compassionate, robust… is it enough no.  There needs to be a whole host of social services.”

Earlier this summer, WRAP - a program which provides credit for low income residents’ with past due balances for water - had reported to the Great Lakes Water Authority that they had run out of funds for the fiscal year. 

Officials say that is when some media outlets then reported the program had no funds.

However days later the new fiscal year kicked in.

“What we are saying is in addition  to those initial funds allocated in the  last fiscal year is another set of funds in the next fiscal year.  They don’t disappear at the end of a fiscal year.  They are put into a fund and they continue to carry over,” said Sue McCormick of the water authority.

Officials at the DWSD say right now $4 million is currently available to Detroit residents who qualify for the wrap plan, money pledged from various agencies in the metro area.

The WRAP program kicked off this past spring.

 “We’ve had margin until now to get the program up and running.  And we’re certainly learning more every month,” said Brown. “We’ll know more about how the program operates next year.  If there are dollars that aren’t being used in the other communities we will ask. I will ask my colleagues to re-appropriate the money to Detroit.” 

While there were problems for some Detroiters to qualify to enroll in the program recently, officials say they can enroll now.