Carl Gibson, THINK PROGRESS
BALTIMORE, Md. (ThinkProgress.com)—Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.
Rita, a renter in Southeast Baltimore who asked to remain anonymous for this story in order to protect her two children from being taken away, told ThinkProgress she was served with a shutoff notice last week. Maryland law states that a child that is “neglected” may be taken out of his or her home and put into foster care. One characteristic of “neglect” as defined by the Maryland Department of Human Resources is a child with “consistently poor hygiene” that is “un-bathed, [having] unwashed or matted hair, noticeable body odor.”
“I love my kids, and I’d do anything for them,” Rita told ThinkProgress. “But if I turn on the shower or the sink and there’s no water, how can I give them a bath?”
Food and Water Watch researcher Mary Grant explained that making water unavailable to residents is a major health risk, and that if Baltimore were to deprive 25,000 households of water, diseases would have a high chance of propagating throughout densely-populated neighborhoods.