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Michigan approves $2.2 billion for food, housing, government and disaster assistance

Increased SNAP benefits will continue through September while rental assistance is getting another influx of cash
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 11:01 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - An additional $2.2 billon from Michigan’s COVID-19 relief funds is going toward food and housing assistance programs, along with help for local governments.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bipartisan spending bill on Wednesday to continue providing additional food benefits through the SNAP program and continue the Emergency Rental Assistance program. Some of the money will go to local governments, hospitals and Mid-Michigan flood assistance.

“As we look ahead, we have an unprecedented opportunity to use federal stimulus funds to help Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before,” Whitmer said. “The bipartisan bill that I signed today is the result of good-faith efforts by members of the legislature and it is a testament to what we can do together: make a real difference in people’s lives right now.”

The $2.2 billion worth of funding approved Wednesday will be spent on the following causes:

  • $1.5 billion to continue a 15% increase in SNAP benefits through Sept. 30.
  • $378.3 million for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will provide grants for utility assistance, rent payment help and other programs for households affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • $322 million for local governments to support local governments, tourism or hospitality businesses and nonprofits that lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of this money will go toward premium pay for essential workers and infrastructure investments.
  • $65.2 million for disaster response around the state, including the 2020 Midland floods.
  • $21 million for the Venture Michigan Fund to generate investment capital from lenders.

Republican State Sen. Jim Stamas of Midland was pleased to see more financial help for his district after the Edenville and Sanford dams failed in May 2020, leading to record flooding.

“I’m glad we’re getting these critical FEMA disaster assistance dollars out to impacted communities and putting our federal relief funds to effective use helping struggling Michiganders feed their families, supporting local governments and ensuring people have access to emergency rental assistance,” Stamas said.

The funding approved Wednesday accounts for about 10% of Michigan’s remaining $22 billion share of federal COVID-19 relief money. Whitmer wants to spend more of the money on investments in the state’s economic future.

“With life getting back to normal, we are turning full attention to our state’s economic jumpstart by creating jobs with higher wages, giving small businesses the needed capital to ramp up hiring and boost investment, and making sure every family has access to affordable, quality childcare,” she said.

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