Whenever the government steps in to try and help residents in Flint, Mich., something always seems to go wrong. In what should be viewed as a step forward, thousands of families in Flint will receive nutritional aid to help prevent the effects of lead exposure. The effort will cost an additional $7 million in nutritional food assistance. However, the only families who will get help are the ones who still live in Flint, according to the Detroit Free Press.
That’s right. No matter how long families may have lived in Flint and been exposed to the contaminated water supply, they won’t be eligible for this support if they’ve moved away. Which sounds like exactly what you’d expect them to do if they had the ability to, right?
“If I had moved to another state, I could understand being treated differently and everything, but moving just 15 minutes away, I feel like … it’s kind of unfair,” said Ariana Hawk, mother of Sincere Smith who appeared on the cover of TIME. “I’m still within Genesee County.”
Hawk is one of the many who feels that children exposed to lead during the Flint crisis shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves just because they’ve relocated. They’re still susceptible to the same risks.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Bob Wheaton claims members of the department chose which people to place priority on. The aid will reportedly come in the form as an additional one-time payment of $420 per eligible child for families that qualify.
“We decided that we wanted to focus on providing this nutritional food to people who are still living in Flint,” Wheaton said.
Hawk told the Free Press that she plans to move her family, which includes five children, back to her hometown of Flint and that the additional assistance would be a great help.