Archived Story

Ferry Street Resource Center installs kiosk for easy access to DHS services

Published 9:18am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Niles area residents curious if they qualify for benefits through the state’s Department of Human Services now have a free and easy way to find out.

On Monday, the Ferry Street Resource Center, 620 Ferry St., Niles, began offering a computer kiosk where residents can access/sing up for their DHS benefits through the website.

Sue Polishuk, executive director of the resource center, said the kiosk was made possible through an approximately $1,800 grant from the United Way of Southwest Michigan and the state DHS.

“A lot of people either don’t have access to a computer or they don’t know how to go about accessing benefits,” she said. “This is a way they can do it and find out the results right away without having to wait.”

Thirteen people have been trained to assist residents with the process of accessing all kinds of DHS benefits, from food stamps to health insurance. The kiosk will be available at least six hours per week and/or whenever a person trained in its use is available to help.

Polishuk said 10 of the 13 people trained are volunteers. The rest are staff members at the resource center.

“We are here to help,” she said.

A schedule of available kiosk times will be posted at the resource center. People can also call the center at (269) 687-9860 to learn about available times or get more information.

The kiosk will be available by appointment or walk-in.

In the past, Polishuk said it could take a couple weeks for someone to find out if they qualified for DHS services using traditional mail.

Now takes a matter of minutes once a resident completes the online form.

“As soon as they are done filling it out they will know,” she said. “It is much more convenient.”

The Ferry Street Resource Center also has a computer lab where people can access their benefits on their own in times when a trained person is not available.

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