Once a booming auto manufacturing center, Flint today is a dying industrial town with high poverty and unemployment. The water crisis that exploded in 2014 has added even more expense and stress for the population, with the burden falling mostly on the poor. Although the state determined the water quality to be safe in 2017, community organizations continue to warn that Flint’s water is undrinkable in many parts of the city.
In 1970, General Motors employed 80,000 people in Flint; by 2015, that number was 6,000. More recently, with GM focusing on truck manufacturing, Flint has been spared some of the sweeping layoffs announced for facilities in other parts of Michigan. Nonetheless, the city has lost a significant portion of its more affluent population in recent years, even though Flint is home to four institutions of higher learning, including Kettering University, an engineering school that is the fastest growing university in Michigan. Vacant school buildings dot the city, as do acres of concrete surrounded by barbed wire, marking the remains of the factories where tens of thousands of people once worked.
According to 2017 data, in Flint:
- Just over 41% of the population lives below the poverty level
- Close to 25% of all families have an annual income below $15,000
Flint is located in Genesee County, a little over an hour northwest of Detroit. 54.9% of its population is African-American and 39.4% is white.
Family-to-Family’s partner in Flint is the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint, an organization that provides extensive afterschool programs for 1,500 area children ages 7 to 17, 70% of whom live at or below the poverty level. Programs include arts classes, literacy programs, sports, a homework center, computers, a video music production center and a game room. BGCGF serves 20,000 meals a year to area children as well.
Family-to-Family’s contacts at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint identify Flint families in need for F-to-F and distribute the monthly food to the families. Food for sponsored families comes from The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint
3701 North Averill Avenue
Flint, MI 48506
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau: Population Estimates, retrieved 1/24/2011; U.S. Census Bureau: 2005-2009 American Community Survey, FBI Statistics Show Flint fourth most violent city in America, www.mlive.com, U.S. Census Bureau: QuickFacts, retrieved 4/21/2016.
Read more about Flint:
- The Flint Water Crisis: A Loss of Trust, June 17, 2018