State of the Poor in Michigan

From Maureen D. Taylor, MWRO State Chair

The out-going director of the MI Dept. of Human Services, Ishmael Ahmed delivered a message today where he outlined the “State of the Poor.” The room was held spell-bound as the numbers of people new to poverty were described and the numbers of people already immersed in poverty were counted together. By his official figures, 29% of children living in this state fall below the poverty level. Between 25% and 30% of all adults are receiving food assistance, many more are entitled but don’t know that they are eligible. He lamented over the pockets of poor people living in disproportionate numbers in places like Pontiac, Flint, Saginaw, Inkster and Detroit with poverty figures at 49%. He referenced by comparison southern states that are color-coded to indicate at what level of poverty they rank. Director Ahmed described the fact that almost all of them are colored to indicate that they are at or below the poverty level. There is one state north of the “Mason-Dixon Line” with the same color – Michigan.

The tremendous loss of jobs in the manufacturing industry in southeastern MI, especially in both urban and rural cities in this state have plunged millions into abject destitution. Working people need time and resources to recover from this devastating circumstance.

Instead, what is happening is the “Great Takeover” of personal property once owned by these folks who used to have jobs.

We continue to be rendered homeless by these ravenous banks that foreclose on our family homes. We continue to see our cars repossessed by lending institutions after making faithful payments for months and years. We are dropped into the vat of destitution because we suffered a medical emergency so all of our savings evaporate leaving us vulnerable to economic predators of every design.

What are we to do? Where are we to go? Detroit used to be home for 1.4 million residents. The current census will record between 800,000 and 900,000 residents as the “Great Exodus” continues unabated of workers moving about the country in search of jobs. The next chapter of the “Grapes of Wrath” featuring wandering families is being written.

The DHS Director believes that the way to repair this crumbling system is for the grassroots mothers and fathers to take control over what needs to happen to manage these difficult times. Not speaking of the tea party approach that wants all government excluded. We must hold the government responsible for securing the basics of society – food, healthcare, public safety and education. We agree with Ish…

Image from State of Michigan DHS

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