A U.S Census study revealed that 14.1 percent of Michigan residents live in poverty. In Wayne County, 21.7 percent of residents live in poverty. Governor Gretchen Whitmer was adamant about ending poverty during her campaign trail and now alongside, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), she’s created the Michigan Poverty Task Force.
The Michigan Poverty Task Force will be made up of directors who will inform the governor of different programs and initiatives designed to remove Michigan residents from poverty. Every action must always go through the state government. Gov. Whitmer believes that by creating this task force, it will help eliminate poverty in Michigan. “No parent should have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table for their families,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I’ve charged this task force with identifying more ways we can lift families up and ensure they can build a good life for themselves here in Michigan. I plan to work very closely with this team to ensure that every parent can feed their families with healthy, nutritious food, put a roof over their heads, and keep them warm in the winter.”
The new Executive Order states that the leader of the task force must create an advisory board made up of three Michigan state legislators. Two of the legislators must represent urban areas that are impacted by poverty, while one legislator must represent a rural area. The task force is also responsible for researching, identifying, recommending, and implementing ideas to help reduce poverty in Michigan. Meetings for the Michigan Poverty Task Force will start in Jan. 2020 and all information will be given to Gov. Whitmer.
LEO director Jeff Donofrio believes that collaboration with other parties is one of the keys to ending poverty in Michigan. “There’s no one solution to solve poverty, it’s going to take all of us, putting our shoulders to the wheel, to make real progress,” Donofrio said. “The Task Force gives us the chance to do collectively what none of us could accomplish on our own. Bringing together state departments, philanthropy, community organizations, and local leaders, we’ll be better able to identify and tackle the root causes of poverty and bring opportunity to more Michiganders.”
Poverty is a national crisis. Black communities in every major city have a flourishing downtown area and decaying neighborhoods to surround them. Systematic blockage and gentrification are always key factors in the disproportion of blacks in America. Hopefully what Gov. Whitmer is doing with the Michigan Poverty Task Force will be duplicated in cities around the county. We need more solutions and less racial inclusion if we want to move forward as a working-class nation.