FLINT, Mich. (AP) — General Motors and the United Auto Workers union plan to donate $3 million to support increased health and education services for Flint children who have been exposed to lead, officials announced Tuesday.
The five-year commitment from the Detroit-based automaker and the union will address “immediate, ongoing and growing needs of Flint children affected by lead” due to the city’s water crisis, the United Way of Genesee County said.
Also Tuesday, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver plans to outline the next steps in her plan to remove lead pipes from the city’s water system. Separately, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his office’s investigators plan to offer an update on their probe.
Flint’s city administrator said Monday that the state’s $30 million pledge to help pay water bills isn’t enough to counteract the effect of the crisis on city finances.
Natasha Henderson told city council members that the proposal passed last week by the state Senate would only keep Flint’s water fund financially solvent until year’s end. She said that could force water service shutoffs to resume, The Flint Journal reported, and at least $60 million is needed.
If consumed, lead can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities. The donation from GM and the UAW will look to provide children with at-home care, nutritional assistance and early childhood and supplemental education, the United Way said. The initiative will include support for preschool, nutritional needs, school nursing, before- and after-school programming, increased special education capacity and increased school counselors.
Flint’s water supply was switched from Detroit water to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure in 2014, when Flint was under state-appointed emergency management. The untreated river water caused lead to leach from old pipes. Flint has since switched back to Detroit water.
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