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Bridge: Some welfare recipients get reprieve; others struggle with welfare restructuring

Michigan Watch is working with the online magazine Bridge in a year-longcollaboration, following families who were cut from welfare cash assistance by a Department of Human Services decision late last year. 

Some Michigan welfare recipients get reprieve

By Ron French/Bridge Magazine

When the long-awaited cash appeared in her Bridge card account June 29, Elizabeth Weaver had her list ready. She made an appointment to repair her car, which had been leaking coolant for months. The 31-year-old bought shelves, and filled them with toilet paper and toothpaste, things she can’t buy with food stamps.
“I need to stock up,” says the Bay City woman. “I don’t know the next time I’ll have money.”

Weaver and her disabled son are among about 13,000 Michigan families removed from cash assistance as a result of time limits placed on welfare benefits. A court ruling in a lawsuit fighting the time limits forced the Michigan Department of Human Services to, at least temporarily, allow “timed out” families to reapply for benefits.

Read story here.

Welfare reform results: few jobs, few state answers, refuge in a vacant home

By Ron French/Bridge Magazine

Welfare reform hasn’t been kind to Tamika Thomas.

Eight months ago, the 33-year-old lived in a rental home in Detroit with her four children. She attended Wayne County Community College, where she was working her way toward an associate’s degree in radiological technology that would have led to the first good-paying job of her life.

Thomas was kicked off cash assistance last fall, when the state imposed strict time limits on benefits. Since then, she dropped out of school and lost her home. She tore the boards off an empty home in Detroit and moved in. There’s no heat, electricity or water. The family sleeps on the floor of the empty house and stores food in a Styrofoam cooler.

Read story here.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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