Flint health centers awarded $500k for water crisis

HHS is giving two Flint, Mich.-based health centers $500,000 to increase and expand their response to the water crisis, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Thursday.

Hamilton Community Health Network and Genesee Health System will split the funds to hire more staff and provide the community with more testing, treatment, outreach and education to help address the crisis.

The city switched its water supply to the Flint River in 2014 to cut costs while it built a new regional water system to bring in water from Lake Huron. However, after hundreds of children got lead poisoning from the Flint River water, the mayor declared a state of emergency in December, and President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in January.

"We are focused on supporting the people of Flint by helping to ensure they have access to clean water and the health services they need to mitigate the effects of lead exposure," Secretary Burwell said in a statement. "This additional funding will allow health centers in Flint to enhance their lead testing efforts and quickly hire more staff for community outreach and to better meet the needs of the people they serve."

Secretary Burwell also met with Flint community members, officials and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to discuss the federal response and recovery efforts. The federal response will aim to engage government at every level to ensure a safe water supply in Flint and mitigate the damage of lead exposure.


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