By Rashad Timmons
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
Declines in funding appropriation for the Ingham County Department of Human Services may result in cutbacks to the Cash Assistance Program for families in the county. Su A’lyn Holbrook, county director of the Department of Human Services, met with the Women’s Commission to discuss the effects these reductions could have on women and children.
“If you don’t have basic things like housing and health, what do you do?” asked Holbrook.
The Department of Human Services states that the Cash Assistance Program caters to pregnant women and low-income families with minor children. In addition, applicants must participate in the PATH: Partnership, Accountability, Training, Hope Program to pursue employment and overcome barriers that prolong unemployment such as education gaps.
The department also partners with the Financial Empowerment Center. In her Cash Assistance report, Holbrook says that the purpose of the Financial Empowerment Center is to help people in the county make smarter and effective financial decisions.
Reductions may have effects on all of these departments.
The 2013 adopted Ingham County budget, however, reflects decreases in funding from 2012. This year, the General Fund budget for the Human Services program area was set at $14,670,223 compared to $16,292,029 in 2012, nearly a 10 percent decrease.
This reduction may explain the decline in the number of individuals receiving cash assistance. In January, the number began at 3,326. By July, this number dwindled down to 2,597.
Holbrook said that programs such as the Eviction Diversion Program and Food Assistance Program are helping in the communities.