Archived Story

Governor Jennifer Granholm : New state resource web site offers a helping hand

Published 1:34am Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hello, this is Governor Jennifer Granholm.

When someone is in distress, you offer a helping hand. And that’s the concept behind a new state resource.

Helping Hand is a new state Web site where people can easily find information about jobs and training, unemployment benefits, food assistance, health care and housing.  But it’s really more than that.  It’s the pooling of resources by the state and groups like the Michigan Association of United Ways and the Michigan Community Action Agency Association to help thousands of people facing economic hardship.

So you can find Helping Hand on the Internet at www.michigan.gov/helpinghand .  Here are just a few things you can do there.

You can file for unemployment benefits online.  If you’re facing foreclosure, you can contact a homeownership counselor for assistance.  You can apply for food assistance online – you don’t have to visit a Department of Human Services office.  By answering a few questions, you can determine if you qualify for other assistance such as Medicaid.
Part of our effort to streamline government is the use of technology.  So if somebody is seeking service, it is much easier to access it online than it is to have to go and stand in line at a Department of Human Services office or at an unemployment insurance line.  We want to break down government so that it is easy to get what you need.

While Helping Hand covers many programs and services, it doesn’t include every available resource in every Michigan community.  And this is why our partnership with groups like United Way and the Community Action Agencies are so important.  Helping Hand provides links to 2-1-1, the United Way system that connects people with local information and resources.  By contacting 2-1-1 either online or by telephone, people can locate specific services in their area.

Community action agencies are also pitching in.  People visiting agency offices across Michigan will be introduced to Helping Hand.  Staff at both those agencies and United Way’s 2-1-1 also can help people fill out forms for the assistance they’re seeking.  Helping Hand is just the latest in a series of actions we’ve taken to protect and better serve Michigan citizens, especially during these tough economic times.

So we’ve asked Congress to extend unemployment benefits and continue the extensions that are in place.  We boosted staffing levels at state unemployment offices to speed up service.  Through our No Worker Left Behind program, more than 88,000 people have enrolled for job training.  A new state law gives homeowners an extra 90 days to prevent foreclosure.  And Lt. Governor John Cherry is leading a workgroup to streamline state government even further.

Helping Hand is part of our effort to streamline state government and better serve and protect people.  During these tough times, we don’t want to make it tough to get assistance.  So when you or someone you know needs help, visit the Helping Hand Web site at www.michigan.gov/helpinghand.

The governor’s weekly radio address is released each Friday morning and may be heard on broadcast stations across the state.

Governor Jennifer Granholm, D, can be contacted at (517) 335-7858 or P.O. Box 30013 Lansing, Michigan 48909  The office of the governor also has a web site, www.state.mi.us/migov.

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