Poverty numbers up for Michigan children

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX)- According to a new report released by the Michigan League for Public Policy, 1 in 5 Michigan children lived in poverty in 2015, a 15 percent increase since 2008, the last full year of the Great Recession.

A statistic that Joan Jackson Johnson, Director of Human Relations and Community Services, is all too familiar with.

"We have a larger number of individuals in Lansing that are just surviving ," said Johnson. "We have so many challenges from the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter."

Johnson tells me Lansing ranks number 46 in the state for overall child well-being.

She says the city is a hub for homelessness and children and families missing meals.

"Our last count was almost 5,000 people and of those 49 percent reported are women with children," Johnson says.

But there are resources available to help kids and families in need.

The city of Lansing does a feeding program seven times a year when there is no school and no free lunches available.

Bob Wheaton, Public Information Officer of the Michigan Health and Department of Human Services says, the MDHSS works with families to remove any barriers to help families and children in need.

But Jackson says even with the available resources, there is still more work to do.

"We can't let our kids go to bed hungry, " Johnson says. "We as a community have to pull our resources together to make sure Lansing is a healthy and happy place for all."