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Archive for May, 2010

DHS built a strong partnership in Saginaw to dispel myths about welfare

Posted by Iahmed on May 21, 2010

The Welfare 101 event that the Michigan Department of Human Services held earlier this week in Saginaw was a huge success. I was surrounded by 23 partners at the SVRC Tuscola Educational Center to dispel myths about welfare.

For example, one myth we busted was: Welfare recipients only live in poorer, urban communities, not the suburbs or more affluent areas of the state.

Here are the facts:

Michigan residents are struggling to put food on their tables and pay their bills in communities statewide. The DHS has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of families seeking temporary assistance, including in Michigan more affluent communities.

Today, it is more likely than ever before that your relative, friend or neighbor is receiving benefits because that pain is being felt everywhere.

Here is a comparison of city-suburb benefit recipients from July 2008 to April 2010:

In Saginaw County:

Saginaw saw a 33 percent increase in Medicaid recipients – from 27,995 to 37,212; and a 14 percent increase in food assistance benefits – from 31,409 to 35,882.

Birch Run saw a 31 percent increase in Medicaid recipients – from 994 to 1,304; and a 43 percent increase in food assistance benefits – from 792 to 1,134.

Frankenmuth saw a 22 percent increase in Medicaid recipients – from 389 to 475; and a 34 percent increase in food assistance benefits – from 202 to 270.

In Genesee County:

Flint saw a 39 percent increase in Medicaid recipients – from 43,682 to 60,679; and a 12 percent increase in food assistance benefits – from 56,282 to 62,804.

Flushing saw a 41 percent increase in Medicaid recipients – from 2,213 to 3,129; and a 48 percent increase in food assistance benefits – from 1,741 to 2,575.

Grand Blanc saw a 56 percent increase in Medicaid recipients from 3,218 to 5,035; and a 72 percent increase in food assistance benefits – from 2,457 to 4,232.

Here is another fact:

There were more than one million foreclosures in Michigan from 2005 to 2009, according to the Michigan State Housing Developmental Authority. The statewide increase was 66.7 percent. For example, from 2005 to 2009:

In Saginaw County, foreclosures increased 51.9 percent – from 2,130 homes to 4,435 homes.

In Genesee County, foreclosures increased 62 percent – from 6,372 homes to 16,784 homes.

In Midland County, foreclosures increased 64.9 percent – from 435 homes to 1,241 homes.

Clearly, welfare recipients live in communities throughout Michigan.

Consider that myth busted.

The Saginaw event was the largest gathering of partners since DHS launched its Welfare 101: busting myths about welfare campaign on April 1 in Lansing. The goal of the campaign is to reduce widespread negative perceptions and show how valuable the welfare system is for so many Michigan residents, as well as to the state’s economy.

The DHS encourages you to do your part to educate the critics. For more information on the truth about welfare, please visit www.michigan.gov/welfare101.

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Need doesn’t know county lines

Posted by Iahmed on May 12, 2010

The Michigan Department of Human Services continued its efforts this week to bust myths about welfare, myths that are tarnishing the good that welfare offers to Michigan’s vulnerable residents.

The Detroit event featured Dana Weeks, a client receiving food assistance benefits, who knows that some people equate welfare to shame. It is an unfortunate truth that the DHS is striving to change.

And even though Weeks never imagined needing assistance at 57, he is not embarrassed to use his Bridge card at the grocery store – an act that makes many people hide their faces. Rather, he is thankful because he knows he would be worse off without the $200 a month he receives to fill his pantry.

“I know it’s temporary,” said the Detroit resident. “It’s a blessing. For some people, a lot of pride gets in the way, but welfare is there for them to fall back on.”

Weeks’ message is important. And it’s one that every Michigan resident must hear because the economic pain is being felt everywhere.

There is a belief that welfare recipients only live in poor, urban areas, while people living in the suburbs or wealthier areas of the state are immune to today’s economic struggles. This is a myth.

Trust me when I say that need does not discriminate. It does not recognize race, gender, religion, and certainly not whether a person lives in Detroit or Bloomfield Hills.

Michigan residents are struggling to put food on their tables and pay their bills in communities statewide. The DHS has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of families seeking temporary assistance, including those who live in Michigan’s more affluent suburban communities.

For example, communities such as Dearborn Heights, Livonia, St. Clair Shores and Bloomfield Hills each saw more than 60 percent increases in the number of people coming to us for food assistance. For Medicaid, each community saw more than a 30 percent increase.

Foreclosures are also affecting some of southeast Michigan’s more prosperous counties. Home foreclosures in most of these counties – Livingston, Macomb and Oakland – exceeded the statewide increase of 66.7 percent from 2005 to 2009.

Welfare recipients certainly do not only live in the state’s poor, urban areas. They come from all walks of life and live in communities statewide.

Consider that myth busted.

We prefer to deal with the facts because misunderstandings lead to myths, which create a stigma that may keep people truly in need – those with young children or the elderly – from asking for help. We want to put an end to that.

I encourage you to visit www.michigan.gov/welfare101 to learn the truth about welfare.

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A couple of op-eds by one of our partner

Posted by Iahmed on May 3, 2010

A couple of op-eds by one of our partners, Sharon Parks. Worth reading and sharing: http://ow.ly/1GoDi and http://ow.ly/1GoHd

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