Frequently Asked Questions

I applied for assistance. Where should I send my documentation?

You can text us pictures of your documentation at (313) 241-9725 or fax them to (313) 769-8168.

I’m applying for assistance. How does this program work?

  1. Our system automatically evaluates your application and determines whether you’re eligible for assistance. A decision is either provided within a few minutes after you apply OR usually within ten (10) business days (some cases may take longer for a decision).

  2. If your application is denied, our staff is automatically notified. A person will then evaluate your application and may call you to conduct an interview. They may request documentation of any statements you make in your application.

Also understand that even after being approved for assistance, no donations are guaranteed and that we cannot guarantee timeframes in which donors donate.

Is my donation tax deductible?


Is there a minimum donation amount?

Yes. Please give at least $5.00.

Can I give more than once?

Sure! Be sure to check out our monthly giving program to ensure families have running water all-year-round.

Can I contribute even though I live outside the United States?


Do you accept checks?

Yes! Send all checks with a note mentioning the The Human Utility to the Social Good Fund, our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor:

PO Box 5473
Richmond, CA 94805

Who created the The Human Utility?

This project came from a discussion on Twitter between @tiffani and @KristyT who wanted to find a way to help people in Detroit with their water issues. From there, we're beginning to expand to other cities.

We were skeptical of campaigns collecting money on behalf of Detroit residents and wanted to find a way to verify past due bills and have donations paid directly to Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in order to help Detroit citizens reconnect their water.

We belive water is a human right.

What was the main influence for starting this initiative?

We wanted to provide immediate relief to Detroit residents. Many organizations and many crowdfunding campaigns were in place, but we wanted to move more quickly than those.

Generally, with crowdfunding, people must wait until the entire fund is raised, which is incompatible with providing immediate relief. We also wanted to ensure our donations went directly to the residents, which was not guaranteed by any of the previous campaigns.

How many donors have pledged?

Over 10,000 donors have pledged.

How much money has been contributed by donors?

As of May 2015, over $180,000 USD has been paid out directly to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department by the The HUMAN Utility's donors.