Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO) is a state chapter of the National Welfare Rights Union that advocates for public assistance recipients and low-income people. The union publicizes stories in the media about water shutoffs, housing, and other issues related to low income in Michigan.
MWRO also works to build a social movement by bringing together people directly affected by water problems, grassroots leaders, community attorneys, researchers, educators, artists, and policy makers to strategize on solutions provide clean, healthful water regardless of income. The International Gathering of Social Movements on Water, convening in Detroit, Michigan is one way that MWRO brings diverse stakeholders into the conversation.
MWRO’s most recent work is in promoting the 2005 Water Affordability Program, written by Roger Colton, municipal utility expert on affordability programs, and presented to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and Detroit City Council in January of 2005. This plan discusses solutions to the cost burden that Detroit water and sewer bills represent for low-income ratepayers. Colton proposes water conservation assistance, distribution of assistance through credits, fundamental consumer protections concerning late fees and service disconnections, and collection initiatives directed at consumers with ability-to-pay.
MWRO also promotes a number of events throughout Michigan that seek to make clean drinking water easier to obtain for people, such as water donation drives, water shut-off protests, and water quality testing volunteer opportunities.