Federal officials approved mortgages worth more than $11 million for Flint, Michigan homes bought after it was discovered the city’s drinking water contained dangerous levels of lead and copper, according to a government watchdog.
At least 144 such mortgages were issued that collectively obligated federal taxpayers to guarantee unpaid balances of $11.2 million. An estimated 65 percent of them — 11 of 17 reviewed — were for homes that were not inspected to assure access to safe drinking water, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General.
The Michigan city gained nationwide notoriety on Oct. 1, 2015, when local officials declared a public health emergency due to excessive levels of lead and copper. Federal regulations require that properties approved for government-backed mortgage insurance have access to “a continuing and sufficient supply of safe and potable water.”