Families Struggle To Stay Warm And Fed - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Families Struggle To Stay Warm And Fed

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – While Thursday is the first day Michigan families in need can get help keeping their homes warm, it's the same day many of those people will also see their food stamp benefits slashed.

"A household of four will be seeing about a $36 a month loss, and a family of three will lose about $29 a month," says Melissa Smith, senior policy analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy. "These cuts are just the beginning of what people that receive food assistance in this country may be facing. The House and the Senate are in a big battle over the future funding of the food assistance program."

President Obama's 2009 Recovery Act increased food stamp benefits for families, but the boost was intended to be phased out as the economy improved. However, because of the congressional budget battle, the increases are ending November 1.

It's the same day families in Michigan can apply for emergency heating assistance, a change from last year when families could apply starting in October. "This program last year in October provided services to 1,210 households [in Lansing]," says Dr. Joan Jackson-Johnson, director of Human Relations and Community Services for the City of Lansing. Jackson-Johnson fears the delay in the start of the program put many of those families in situations where they were again struggling to keep warm.

For more information on how to apply for emergency heating assistance, click here. And to learn more about the changes to the food stamp program, click here.

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