MDHHS provides $11.5 million in federal Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits to 22,000 households in Washtenaw, Wayne; Gov. Whitmer presidential disaster declaration request paved way for support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 24, 2021 

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich.- More than 22,000 Wayne and Washtenaw county households received more than $11.5 million in federal Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits during a special application opportunity Aug. 12-19.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) accepted in-person applications over a seven-day period to provide benefits to eligible households affected by severe flooding and power outages at the end of June.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sought a presidential disaster declaration for the two counties due to the flooding and power outages on June 25-29. Whitmer and MDHHS sought and received Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) approval from the Biden administration through the Food and Nutrition Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"No Michigander should have to worry about putting food on the table, especially as they're facing extreme weather events and persistent flooding of their home and other property," said Gov. Whitmer. "This food assistance, approved by the Biden administration, helped 22,415 families in Washtenaw and Wayne counties as they continued to rebuild their lives after this summer's historic flooding. We will ensure that impacted families have the support they need right now and invest in our infrastructure to make it more resilient to increasingly extreme weather."

The total number of residents to receive disaster assistance is 87,517.

"Improving access to services and benefits, including food assistance, is an important MDHHS priority," said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. "I'm pleased we were able to provide assistance to residents of Wayne and Washtenaw counties affected by the flooding earlier this summer. I appreciate the dedication of the MDHHS staff who worked tirelessly to ensure this process ran smoothly and that Michiganders in need were able to get help."

MDHHS staff from over 60 of its offices across the state, including staff who relocated from other county offices to support the application process, assisted residents with their applications at eight locations in Wayne and Washtenaw counties.

Households determined to be eligible received a one-time-only benefit to spend on food. Households approved for Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits were issued a Bridge Card, an electronic benefits card similar to a debit card that can be used to redeem their food assistance benefits at eligible retail stores and farmers markets.

The federal Disaster Food Assistance Program application period is over, however, Michiganders in need of food assistance should visit Michigan.gov/FoodAssistance to learn more or they can apply for food assistance or other public benefits at www.Michigan.Gov/MIBridges.

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