Released by Samantha Jo Warfield, CNS.gov
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced today it is deploying an AmeriCorps team to Flint, Michigan, to support state and local efforts to protect the public health of residents facing challenges from increased lead levels in the Flint water supply.
The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team will be deployed for three months starting on February 1, 2016. Serving through the United Way of Genesee County (UWGC), the team will carry out a range of projects to improve education and public health, including going door-to-door to educate residents on using water filters appropriately, providing information on best practices in healthcare and nutrition related to lead exposure, and connecting residents to wrap-around services.
The goals of the AmeriCorps team are to increase water filter use by Flint residents; connect more residents to services; provide more public health information to the public; engage more volunteers in meeting water-related needs; and strengthen the ties and coordination between neighborhoods, residents, and service providers.
CNCS is working closely with the Michigan Community Service Commission, the City of Flint, and local nonprofit partners to identify additional ways the agency’s AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other national service resources can support Flint as it works to addresses the ongoing health and safety issues caused by lead in Flint’s drinking water. Currently, an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with Mission for Hope in Flint has been working with faith-based and nonprofit organizations to identify residents in need of bottled water and water filters.
“National service is all about getting things done to solve local problems, and we are committed to supporting Flint at this time of need,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Working hand-in-hand with local partners, these dedicated AmeriCorps members will provide important public health services to Flint residents. We know this is a long-term challenge and will be looking for other ways to use national service and volunteering to meet this critical need.”
“The United Way of Genesee County is pleased to partner with the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Genesee County Health Department to bring the resources of an AmeriCorps NCCC team to Flint,” said James Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee County. “These AmeriCorps members are going to be instrumental in helping Flint families get the information and resources they need related to water filters, nutrition, and mitigating the long-term effects of lead exposure. By sponsoring this team, the United Way continues our commitment to being a strong partner in finding solutions to the water problems in our community.”
The United Way of Genesee County has significant experience in managing national service resources. It currently hosts two AmeriCorps VISTA members through the United Way Worldwide and 10 AmeriCorps members for Flint’s Urban Safety Corps. It also is home to the city’s National Service Accelerator, which is working to expand the role of AmeriCorps in meeting local needs. Since the discovery of the health emergency, the UWGC has worked with numerous partners to provide Flint residents immediate access to safe drinking water, providing resources such as filtration systems, bottled water, and nutrition information. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has supported the National Service Accelerator for five years and will provide support for the AmeriCorps NCCC team’s housing costs during their stay in Flint.
Last year, more than 11,000 Michigan residents served through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps at more than 1,700 locations throughout the state. They tutor and mentor children, support veterans and military families, provide health services, restore the environment, respond to disasters, increase economic opportunity, and recruit and manage volunteers. Last year, CNCS committed more than $26.6 million to support Michigan communities through national service initiatives, which leveraged an additional $16.2 million in other resources to strengthen community impact.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service and developing community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and other programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) utilizes service as a strategy to address the state’s most pressing issues and empowers volunteers to strengthen communities. In 2015-2016, the MCSC is granting more than $7 million in federal funds to local communities for volunteer programs and activities, including 30 AmeriCorps programs. The MCSC is housed in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. For more information visit http://www.michigan.gov/mcsc.
The United Way of Genesee County is a health and human service non-profit, serving the residents of Genesee County. The United Way of Genesee County currently supports local funded partners through programs within four priority areas: education, health, financial stability, and basic needs. For more information visit http://www.unitedwaygenesee.org.
For more information on the City of Flint water issues, visit the City of Flint website.
AmeriCorps information is online here.