Michigan has joined 38 other states in developing a self-sufficiency standard, and the Food Bank Council of Michigan is unveiling its results.   The standard calculates how much income a Michigan family needs to earn to meet basic needs, and it does it on a county-by-county basis.  It's purpose is to aid in more clearly defining and helping struggling families.

The study shows Calhoun County families with one adult and one preschooler need about $17.50 per hour to make ends meet.  Its a few dollars higher in Kalamazoo County.

Food Bank Council Executive Director Dr. Phil Knight spoke at the Food Bank of South Central Michigan and said, “It’s time to replace the official (federal government) poverty measure that is over 60 years old.”   Knight says the poverty level doesn’t accurately measure how many people are truly struggling.   He said the first responsibly of leadership is to define reality, and the new self-sufficiency standard is a big step in that process.

Knight says the second thing the Food Bank Council is doing is calling for a complete re-evaluation of policies, practices and legislation regarding the phasing out of benefits into a working home, and reverse policies that de-incentivize work and replace them with policies that reward work.

Knight called on state government and business leaders to create a bi-partisan commission that will come up with an actionable plan to create food security across Michigan.

Self Sufficiency Standard for Michigan 2017
Self Sufficiency Standard for Michigan 2017