Human services to take a hit from Michigan’s loss of population

Today the U.S. Census reported that Michigan was the only state in the nation to lose population between 2000 and 2010. Michigan lost 0.6 percent of its population since 2000 while the population grew nationwide by 9.7 percent.  Dec. 22, 2010 — Mlive.com

Decade’s population decline of 54,804 will cost Michigan federal funding

News from the U.S. census delivered a double blow to Michigan on Tuesday.  Dec. 22, 2010 — Lansing State Journal

Local Families Who Rely On Food Assistance Increasing

The number of families in Livingston County living on welfare has increased dramatically in the past year according to a new report.  Dec. 22, 2010  —  WHMI 93.5FM

State Population Loss Hurts Human Services, Other Fed Funds

The 2010 Census numbers were released Tuesday, leaving the state of Michigan checking its math. Dec. 21, 2010 — WILX.com

Unemployed workers get relief, except 99ers

Once again, unemployed job seekers in Michigan nearly saw their Unemployment Insurance benefits abruptly cut off, and once again the benefits were restored.

Had Congress not acted, more than 168,000 job seekers would have exhausted their benefits between Dec. 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011.  The Congressional action to extend emergency unemployment benefits through 2011 helps any worker who has not found a job after receiving at least 26 weeks, but less than 99 weeks, of benefits.

However, what about the 99ers—those who have collected benefits for 99 weeks and have still been unable to get work? Given that there is one job opening for every five unemployed workers, it is not surprising that from January to November of this year, more than 162,000 workers hit the limit of 99 weeks.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has introduced legislation that would add 20 additional weeks to the 99-week limit for workers in Michigan and other high unemployment states. The bill is co-sponsored by 12 others, including Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. However, it has been stalled in the Senate Finance Committee since August.

Giving those long-term unemployed additional weeks of benefits as they look for work would  keep their families above water and provide stimulus to the economy. Our state and its unemployed workers can use all the help they can get. It is good that both our U.S. senators are fighting for this. The Senate Finance Committee leadership needs to get on board.

(See Fact Sheet: Helping the 99-weekers in Michigan.)

Michigan’s slice of the pie shrinking

We knew it would be bad, but did we know it would be this bad?  Michigan was the only state in the country to lose population over the last decade, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau numbers released today.

The state’s population declined 0.6 percent, while the nation’s population grew 9.7 percent. Michigan will lose one congressional seat, but perhaps the greatest loss will be felt in the loss of federal funds.

About 140 federal programs use census numbers to allocate funds to the states. These programs include Medicaid, Head Start, road funding and more. In 2008, Michigan received $16 billion in federal assistance based on census numbers.

Our part of the federal pie is going to be smaller for the next 10 years because of the loss of population the state has experienced.  While population is down, the need for services and programs is not.  As we all know, Michigan’s economy has suffered more than most. Demand for services will continue to be high as the state recovers more slowly than other states.

Today’s news presents another challenge to the incoming governor and  lawmakers, who already face a $1.7 billion budget gap. Michigan has relied heavily on federal funds in the last few years to help close budget gaps during tough economic times. There will be a lot less of that money available as work begins on the next state budget. 

The likely loss of federal dollars makes a balanced approach to solving the budget gap all the more important.

State population loss impacts federal funds

Contact: Karen Holcomb-Merrill or Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436
Dec. 21, 2010

Michigan is the only state to lose population between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. Census reports, which will cost the state a congressional seat and impact federal funding in a range of areas.

More than 140 federal programs use census data to distribute funds. In fiscal year 2008, Michigan received more than $16 billion in federal assistance using census data. These programs include cash assistance, education, child care and health care.

Michigan lost 0.6 percent of its population since 2000 while the population grew nationwide by 9.7 percent.

“These new numbers will likely mean a reduction in federal dollars for Michigan. The state has relied heavily on federal dollars in recent years to close its budget gap,’’ said Karen Holcomb-Merrill, state fiscal project director for the Michigan League for Human Services. “Without these dollars, state leaders will be even more challenged to address the $1.7 billion gap.’’

Census data is used by state and local governments to estimate the need for child care, schools and health care. Those most likely to be missed in the census are children of color, and people who are low-income or unemployed. For each person missed, the state loses about $10,000 over a 10-year period, the Michigan Department of Management, Budget and Technology has estimated.

According to the Brookings Institution, the top 10 federal programs that rely on census data in 2008 in Michigan were:

1. Medicaid: $10.4 billion
2. Highway Planning/Construction: $1 billion
3. Very Low to Moderate Income Housing Loans:  $466 million
4. Special Education Grants: $381 million
5. Housing Choice Vouchers: $308 million
6. Title 1 Education Grants:  $292 million
7. Head Start: $219 million
8. Unemployment Insurance: $215 million
9. MIChild: $147 million
10. Low-income Home Energy Assistance: $141 million

 “With the lower census numbers, it will likely mean fewer federal dollars flowing into Michigan at a time when the need for services remains high. State leaders will be challenged to make up for this loss of federal funding, while providing needed services,” Holcomb-Merrill said. 

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The Michigan League for Human Services is a nonprofit, nonpartisan statewide policy and advocacy group for low-income citizens. It has a network of 1,500 individuals and organizations representing business, labor, human service professions, faith-based groups as well as concerned citizens.

Despite job gains in third quarter, Michigan’s Food Assistance Program cases increase

Despite a 20,000 gain in jobs during the third quarter compared to last year, Michigan families continue to struggle to meet basic needs, according to the latest Economic Security Bulletin, a quarterly report from the Michigan League for Human Services.  Dec. 20, 2010 — Mlive.com

Thousands Lose Unemployment Benefits

A scary future for tens of thousands across the state who have run out of federal unemployment benefits. They’re being called 99’ers- people who have maxed out on federal jobless benefits.  Dec. 20, 2010 — WLNS.com

Challenges await new Michigan legislators

LANSING — Republicans who will dominate the Michigan Legislature starting in January figure voters sent them a clear message in the 2010 election.  Dec. 18, 2010 — The Macomb Daily

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