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Hundreds of social movement organizers and activists are gathering in Detroit, Michigan, USA this weekend to analyze and strategize on the denial of affordable water and housing to residents across the U.S. and internationally. From May 29-31, 2015, over 300 people from several nations and nearly 20 states in the U.S. will meet to develop legal, legislative and policies and movement strategies in response to water shutoffs, housing foreclosures and escalating costs for the basic needs of survival.

In 2014, over 100,000 residents of the City of Detroit had their home water and sewer services shutoff because of the inability of poor and low-income residents to pay these bills. Last week, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department began shutting off service to more homes at the rate of 800 per day. In Baltimore, Maryland, officials have begun shutting off water to more than 25,000 customers unable to keep up with the cost of their water bills. More cities across the United States are reporting customer payment problems and threatening to shutoff off water and sewer service.

While residents have been threatened with shutoffs, corporate customers and governmental institutions have not been had their service terminated. Residential customers have been targeted for shutoff before private companies, golf courses and sports stadiums with overdue water bills.

Additionally, nearly 70,000 homeowners in Detroit were identified by government tax officials for foreclosure because of delinquent property taxes. The U.S. severe recession in 2007, due to a collapse in the housing market from bad bank loans and Wall Street greed, continues to affect millions of people across the United States and nations worldwide.

Among the participants at the International Social Movement Gathering on Affordable Water and Housing in Detroit are representatives from Italy, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. Housing and land crises affecting communities across the globe will be discussed with U.S. activists by Césare Ottolini from the International Alliances of Inhabitants; and Bartíria Lima de Costa with CONAM (Confederação Nacional das Associações de Moradores/National Confederation of Inhabitants' Associations).

Outcomes from the social movement gathering will include U.S. federal and state legislation on water and housing rights, along with strategies to address solutions from local to international levels; and stronger networks and responses among water and housing communities and institutions.


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