Map: Triple burden households in Detroit: poverty, housing, and plumbing issues

University of Michigan researchers found 10% of the city’s population is “triple burdened.” The triple burden means residents live in census tracts with higher than average rates of poverty, housing cost burden, and incomplete plumbing.

In some Detroit neighborhoods, up to 10% of homes lack complete access to water, meaning they lack either hot and cold running water, a bathtub or shower, or a sink with a faucet.

The authors propose three strategies to address water concerns in Detroit:

  • Expand funding for residential plumbing repairs. As the federal government considers additional drinking water investments, resources should be available for repairs as well as direct bill assistance.
  • Use city water data to identify target investments, reach customers with the greatest need and reduce barriers to access.
  • Strengthen coordination between city departments. Greater coordination between the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Detroit Health Department, Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department and the city’s Office of Sustainability could help to identify synergistic and innovative strategies to prevent future systems from disrepair.

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