Understanding poverty in Michigan is the first step towards alleviating it, so people are playing particular attention to the recent Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) report on how local officials think about economic hardship. Much of the findings are particularly salient to Wexford and Missaukee counties, all part of the Northern Lower Peninsula, as detailed in Karen Hopper Usher’s March 26, 2019, analysis titled “Are most of us struggling to make ends meet?” featured in local news outlet Cadillac News.
Tom Ivacko, associate director of CLOSUP, provided context for the report. The survey itself had officials remark on eight factors related to poverty: drug treatment programs, job training/workforce development, affordable housing, public transportation, emergency housing, subsidized health care, subsidized child care and pre-kindergarten programs and emergency food. Ivacko said that Wexford County and Northern Lower Michigan were similar in each.
“We found a lot of unmet needs,” stated Ivako, continuing, “A lot of residents across the state simply don’t have access to the types of resources that might help them get out of poverty.” Usher points to Wexford County officials apparent desire to do more to alleviate poverty, despite the counties lack of programming. Much of this is in line with other rural areas, with Ivacko stating that “Poverty across the state is somewhat worse in rural places than in urban places. Our reading of the data is that it is in the urban places that there are more organizations to partner with.”
Read the full piece on Cadillac News.
Tom joined CLOSUP at its founding in the fall of 2001 and serves as associate director of the Center. He also oversees the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program and has been the lead or co-author on more than 50 MPPS publications covering a wide range of state and local government policy topics.