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More people seeking welfare assistance in Michigan

Map of Michigan showing participation in the food stamp program per capita
Image from Food Stamp Program Map Machine
Food stamp use per capita in each Michigan county in 1999 (last year the data is available). The more shaded the county, the higher the use.

Nearly 1.9 million people in Michigan are getting some form of public assistance. That's a new record according to a report from the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta.

Pluta talked with Sharon Parks of the Michigan League for Human Services.  Parks says the growing number of people applying for the cash assistance program concerns her most.

“This is suggesting that we have more people who have reached a level of poverty that’s very concerning, and they’ve burned through their resources, they’ve depleted their assets.”

More people will be seeking assistance after they lose their extended unemployment benefits. As we reported last week, 40% of unemployed people in Michigan have been going without a job for six months or longer.

Sharon Parks says service providers are seeing a lot of new people:

"They’re seeing people who it’s the first time in their life they’ve ever had to come to a food bank, or its the first time they’ve ever had to apply for food assistance or Food Stamps.”

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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