One medical emergency, one car accident, one missed paycheck, or one layoff notice and a working class family can descend into poverty.
No state has been hit harder by the national economic crisis than Michigan. We have lost hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. Our communities are dotted by thousands of foreclosed homes. And too many of our fellow citizens face the daily challenge of how they will support themselves and their families.
Twenty percent of people living in Michigan, including 500,000 children, are living in or near poverty. That’s one out every five people and half a million children. Children living in poverty complete less schooling, earn less as adults, have poor health, face more criminal charges and are more likely to become a teen parent.
The Michigan Department of Human Services, the Governor’s Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity, and the Michigan Community Action Agency Association (Voices for Action Network) are sponsoring the Poverty Summit.
The Poverty Summit embraces Governor Granholm’s 2008 State of the State priorities of a job for every worker, education for every child, training for every citizen, health care for every family and safe places to live and work for all of us. This Summit is not just a one-day event, but also a kickoff for a statewide initiative to reduce poverty and maximize economic opportunities by addressing the issues of health, employment, education, corrections/public safety, child welfare, race and poverty, aging/seniors and vibrant communities.
For more information or to register for the Poverty Summit, please visit www.michigan.gov/poverty.
Ismael Ahmed is the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services.