Feds help poverty-stricken

When she lost her job and housing last year, Kelly said she didn’t know where to turn.
Krystle Wagner
Jan 4, 2014

In November, the mother of three — who wouldn’t provide her last name — entered The Salvation Army's emergency housing program in Grand Haven.

The Salvation Army is one of about 16 agencies in Ottawa and Allegan counties that have been allocated to receive $127,190 in direct funding from the National Emergency Food and Shelter Board Program.

For the 2013 fiscal year, qualifying jurisdictions must meet the following criteria: more than 300 unemployed, with a 9.8 percent jobless rate or a 16.3 percent poverty rate.

Liz DeLaLuz, chairwoman of the executive committee for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program for Ottawa and Allegan counties, said the $127,190 will make an impact despite being a decrease in funding from previous years,

“It’s going to be a huge boost for those people that are providing food, shelter and support,” she said. “It’s a huge impact on us.”

Last year, Ottawa and Allegan counties did not meet the qualifications to receive direct funding. Instead, they received a little more than $49,000 in state set-aside funding, which provides money for programs and agencies that don’t qualify for federal funding.

Capt. Sally Davis of The Salvation Army said recent decreased funding has caused the corps to rely more on donations and community support. This year, the corps will receive about $6,000 for its emergency housing program and about $10,000 for its rent assistance program.

Davis said the Grand Haven corps will be able to help about 20 families with rent assistance.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Yet congress has just cut off Emergency Unemployment Benefits to millions of Americans who are struggling, harder than ever, to find a job that will pay the basic cost of living, in this current economy where the corporations are making record profits but refusing to hire anybody at a live able wage unless they have at least a Bachelors degree and 6+ years experience. The issue is being introduced in congress today, but the republicans have flat out said they will not allow the EUC extension.

At this point I have been sending out 20-30 resumes per week to everywhere I can think of in the region. I spend a few minutes tailoring the resume for each type of business. I get very few call-backs, and when I do, it is either that I am 'Over-qualified', 'Don't have 6+ years experience (even though I have the skills and am fully proficient in the field)', or that even though they posted a job opening, that the job did not truly exist (a ton of companies do this to get government funds without actually hiring people on).

In 2.5 months, we will run out of savings and be on the streets if I cannot find something. I would love to get on the rent assistance program in this article, but from what I hear it is nearly impossible for someone in my situation to be selected for it.

I just wish the market for custom, hand-built, high-end bicycles was better in this area; I'm pretty darn good at that!


Heck, I just mailed in a resume to a local business looking for a part-time custodian paying $8.00/hr. Chances of getting it are very slim though since in the qualifications portion of the job listing, they said they require five years of experience in janitorial services and a Bachelors (doesn't say in what area of study, just that you must have a Bachelor's degree).

I am usually a very optimistic and happy individual, but this job market is simply hopeless. It is not because companies are doing bad in this economy; many are posting record profits. Instead, the companies are taking advantage of the work-force and simply abusing them.

I have a TON of specialized and valuable skills, yet everywhere I apply finds them to be totally useless without a degree in that field. Sadly, while I did attend college, I studied in a field that is grossly over-saturated with talent these days. I payed for college out of my own pocket without any help of family; so I wasn't able to obtain a 4-year degree. I would love to go back and learn, but I cannot even afford that.

Enough whining for today. Sorry for all of that. I have sent off another ten resumes this morning and just feeling totally discouraged.

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