Why $600 stimulus checks will do little to help Michiganders living in poverty

Why $600 stimulus checks will do little to help people living in poverty

When stimulus checks start going into bank accounts and mailboxes in the upcoming weeks, many Michiganders will still be struggling.

While many are eagerly awaiting for the next checks to be sent out, advocates for those in poverty said the money won’t come close to covering basic necessities.

According to state numbers, 14% of Michiganders live in poverty, 9% in extreme poverty and nearly one in three working families live below 200% of the poverty line. Much of the data was collected before the pandemic impacted the state.

“We’ve been very reactionary in responding to this crisis and a lot of the fixes that we have are short term,” said Linda Jordan, public health benefits attorney with the Center for Civil Justice. “People have been without assistance for months and $600 is not going to go far. We know that people are struggling to make rent and mortgage payments. And that’s really concerning because losing your housing in a pandemic is a dire situation.”

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According to the real estate site Zillow, the average Michigan rent is just under $1,200, which is before water, electric and grocery bills.

Talk after the COVID relief package was passed has been mostly positive, politicians and activists including Jordan praising the cash payments. However, there has been conversation that those in poverty should not ask for more help saying it’s better than nothing at all.

Jordan said that is something to be wary of.

“We have a lot of money flying around right now from the federal government from the state government, and $600 isn’t going to help people plug the holes and their budget when they’ve been unable to work for months. It’s simply not enough, it’s not. We shouldn’t be settling for better than nothing,” she said.

Watch the full report in the video above.

Trump suggests he might not sign COVID relief bill

President Donald Trump is blasting the bipartisan $900 billion pandemic relief package that Congress just passed and is suggesting that he may not sign it.

Trump complained in a video that he tweeted out Tuesday night that the bill delivered too much money to foreign countries, but not enough to Americans.

The bill provides for a $600 payment to most Americans, but Trump said he is asking Congress to amend the bill and “increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple. I am also asking Congress to get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill.”

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About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.