The Short Story:

  • Directing disaster relief to the most vulnerable communities and populations
  • Building collaborative, multi-sector partnerships to better distribute relief
  • Designing critical public health education campaigns reaching underserved
  • Mobilizing RRST - Rapid Response Service Teams - MSWs, RNs, MDs,
  • Crisis response and intervention at ground, agency, and policy level

All the Details:

Crossing Water, in response to the Flint Water Crisis, has created a new social work model for crisis intervention that employs volunteer social workers, paramedics, doctors, RNs, plumbers and skilled trades people, and more, as first line response teams that go into homes to ensure residents have everything they need to keep their families healthy during this crisis. Our Rapid Response Service Teams (RRST) deliver water, and do so much more: provision and installation of water filters and replacement cartridges, water filter education, repair and replacement of plumbing where needed in order to accommodate a water filter in the home, assessments, referrals, and the provision of other critical goods such as infant formula, clothing, food, and blankets. The social worker-led RRST teams provide much-needed direct care for families during this crisis, and provide critical assessments to ascertain if there are other unmet needs in the families, whether they be related to mental health, physical health, or material resources. When the RRST teams discover these needs in the residences, we work with the families to meet those needs, following up with the families until their needs are met, which in many cases entails finding new partners with whom to collaborate to make that happen. We have delivered furniture and appliances, replaced a furnace, and are currently helping several residents problem solve their non-functioning water heaters. 

The Crossing Water collaborative has implemented a multi-media Public Service Announcement campaign, including the placement of 22+ billboards, TV, radio, and postcard PSAs to alert residents to the problems with their drinking water. This campaign has been done in English and Spanish, and new rounds of PSAs throughout Flint are ongoing.

Crossing Water is also researching and collaborating with partners to bring about longer-term solutions above and beyond the delivery of cases of water, including whole-home filter systems.  One of our partners is donating hundreds of free systems to the most vulnerable families in Flint, and we are working to determine the families most in need of those systems. Large, in-home water systems are also being investigated for residents who are homebound.