Safety net

About 1 in 5 children in Michigan live in poverty. Bridge will explore the reasons behind this disturbing result and the ideas to address it.

Despite congressional muscle, Michigan ranks near bottom in funding for veterans

Michigan’s congressional delegation controls some powerful defense and intelligence committees. So why does our state rank among the nation’s worst in money paid to veterans?

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Self-medicating homeless vets not seeking help they need

Military veterans are more likely to “self-medicate” for pain, both physical and otherwise, leading to a surge in homelessness.

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Suburban poverty continues to grow in Michigan

Jesus fed the multitude, and Denise Amenta is prepared to do the same on this December day, as a raggedy man slips into the St. Mark Parish food pantry in Warren, two minutes before closing time. She asks his name, tells him […]

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Can fancy finance fund fights against social ills?

A new method of financing government programs such as early childhood education and prison reforms is generating a near giddiness among states and philanthropists eager to participate. Social impact bonds allow foundations and private-sector investors to participate in funding programs aimed at […]

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Michigan philanthropists have a ‘sense of urgency’ on education

The Council of Michigan Foundations is the nation’s largest regional association of grantmakers, representing 350 foundations and other grantmaking organizations in the state. Foundations are playing an increasingly prominent role in Michigan as state and local government budgets that support for communities, […]

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A new PATH for Michigan workers gains friends and foes

Demita Burnett admits she made some poor decisions in her young life that ultimately led her to seek welfare assistance in January. The 26-year-old Saginaw resident, a single mother of a 5-year-old son, had few job skills, no transportation and not even […]

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Survey says old Michigan jobs training program worked

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s No Worker Left Behind program was a wildly ambitious effort to retrain more than 100,000 laid-off or low-income workers for new jobs as the state’s manufacturing base imploded. Although the $500 million program faced criticism for its effectiveness during […]

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In Michigan, a full-time job is no guarantee of good housing

The line began growing overnight, hundreds of low-income suburban Detroit residents hoping to secure one of 1,000 available subsidized housing vouchers. It stretched to more than a mile long and an estimated 5,000 people when doors to the Taylor Community Services Center […]

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How high is rent in six Michigan cities?

Finance guidelines say housing should not cost more than 30 percent of household income. But in 2013, thousands of Michigan rental households fall below that standard.   Michigan Two-bedroom fair market rental: $768 Hourly wages needed to afford two-bedroom fair market rental: […]

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Warehouse lofts in Grand Rapids fill fast due to affordable housing program

For years, the massive century-old brick furniture warehouse stood vacant in Grand Rapids as one developer after another took a pass. Thanks to a federal tax credit program, Baker Lofts opened for business earlier this year and is filled with dozens of […]

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Why are Michigan’s child abuse/neglect rates so high?

The number of abused and neglected Michigan children rose in recent years, during a period when state spending on abuse and neglect prevention plummeted. The state’s rate of abuse and neglect, below the national average as recently as 2006, is now more […]

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Kalamazoo mom, daughter profit from Michigan’s home visit programs

Shauntiana Branson found herself unexpectedly pregnant — and unprepared for motherhood two years ago. Having just reached adulthood and fearing backlash from her family, Branson did what she could to find her own help. A visit to a local Women, Infants, and […]

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Michigan still using federal dollars to fund mortgage assistance programs

As she struggled to hold onto her home after her hours as a retail clerk were slashed, a 66-year-old Kentwood resident initially lost $1,300 in a scam run by a company that promised to help the woman and her husband avoid foreclosure. […]

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Blue Cross revamp: What does it mean for your pocketbook?

Blue Cross Blue Shield is, in some ways, health care in Michigan. The nonprofit firm and its family of companies cover 4.4 million Michigan residents – or almost half the state. It paid out more than $18 billion in claims in 2011 […]

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Leader of Grand Rapids homeless shelter keeps the focus on accountability

GRAND RAPIDS — A decade back, Stuart Ray was immersed in the business of fast foods as he presided over dozens of local Burger King franchises. Today, he’s immersed in the business of human salvation, as he guides a Grand Rapids homeless […]

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Report details surge in child poverty in Detroit

The majority of children in Detroit now live in poverty, says a new report from the demographic firm Data Driven Detroit. The child poverty rate was 57.3 percent in 2011, D3 found in “2012 State of the Detroit Child”, after a decade […]

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Legal immunity worries child advocates

The fear of getting sued if a foster child attempts suicide or theft prompted private social service agencies to push in the waning days of the lame-duck session for a law granting them limited immunity to lawsuits. They got their wish late […]

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Legislature poised to lock in strict time limits on cash aid to needy families

Michigan’s massive welfare reform, which removed 15,000 families from cash assistance in its first year, was never the law of the land. That may be about to change. Senate Bill 1386, which would codify the Department of Human Services’ controversial time limits […]

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