Trayvon Chatman and his girlfriend took their two children to stay in a $135-a-week hotel just outside the city line. “What choice do we have? This is their future,” he says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
FLINT, Mich.-- A sign hanging over a shuttered, bricked-over storefront along a main business thoroughfare conveys a message from another time. "Where dreams come true," it says.
A congressional delegation arriving here Friday will find plenty of evidence that's not how it turned out in one of the nation's most disadvantaged cities. There are broken windows and sagging roofs on the factory workers’ bungalows now, a note on the door of a party supply store saying that it's closed after 18 years, and pamphlets on how to win the lottery are for sale at corner stores in neighborhoods where school supplies are hard to find. Since revelations that more than 9,000 Flint children were poisoned for months by drinking lead-contaminated water, members of Congress have called the crisis “Flint’s Katrina.” And like the hurricane that devastated whole neighborhoods in New Orleans, the slow-motion, unnatural disaster here has exposed entrenched poverty and inequality.