Due to the decline in today’s economy, we are experiencing difficult times we would have never dreamed were possible. Many people used to think it was just a “Flint” problem but 2009/2010 statistics report that is not the case. For example; in 2009 in the city of Flushing, 6,324 residents’ accessed services of United Way funded programs. In Davison, the number was 5,895, in Grand Blanc 3,566, Fenton 2,185, Swartz Creek 2,393, Flint Township 4,174 and Mt. Morris numbers were 5,253. These numbers are residents who used United Way’s funded programs, but chances are strong they sought out assistance from other agencies as well. In 2010, 6,793,691 pounds of food were distributed in Genesee County and 81,116 people in Genesee County are “food insecure.
In Michigan, 91% of clients that access services through food banks are living at or below the poverty level, a 15% increase. Another alarming fact; 41% of client households had to choose between paying for housing or food.
Nationally, 1 in 5 children live in poverty (according to the recent census table). With this many families food insecure, it is quite probable that these families and more, are finding it extremely difficult to pay for shelter and/or able to keep up with rising utility costs. In our community, foreclosures, renter evictions, utility shut-offs and/or lack of medical coverage has affected far too many families and senior citizens. One family or one senior experiencing any of these difficulties is too many.
As your AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison, it is one of my primary job responsibilities to assist union families when they or a family member may need assistance through a health or human service agency. Many different situations may arise such as inability to pay for daily basic needs, a domestic violence or substance abuse problem, or one of many other problems that affect families and individuals negatively. It is my job to locate and refer you to agencies (upon availability) for assistance. What we discuss is confidential and will be treated in a discreet manner. Many people are embarrassed and hesitant to call for help. They should not feel that way as many of today’s problems were created by circumstances completely out of our control. Sometimes it just helps to talk to someone. I can be contacted at United Way at (810) 7625827. ~ Cindy Cromwell~