Shutdown threatens WIC assistance funds

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - Roughly 40% of Michigan's state budget hinges on the availability of federal dollars. As the stalemate in Washington continues, the most vulnerable citizens in Metro Detroit could be the government shutdown's latest victims.

It's a job Latrece Harvey can't afford to shut down; raising three kids, not to mention a full time job. Harvey says the federally funded WIC program helps make ends meet by putting food on the table.

"You know, just by having WIC, with milk, eggs, cheese, baby food," said Harvey, "That's a lot."

The state's department of health says families on WIC have about four weeks before the shutdown essentially shuts down the assistance program.  

"They do away with the program, there are going to be a lot of hungry children." said Harvey, "It really is going to be a lot of desperate people out here doing desperate things."

"Really there's got to be an end game." said State Budget Director John Nixon, "The unfortunate thing is this doesn't need to happen."

It's a no-win situation for number-crunchers in Lansing. Nixon says the federal programs are too large for short term state subsidies.

"The problem is these programs are so big." said Nixon, "The food stamp program alone is about $240 million a month. And we just don't have the finances to keep that program afloat."

For the mother of three, with another on the way, the answer to the shutdown is simple.

 "Well, my children are getting along better than the lawmakers," said Harvey, "So maybe they should be the lawmakers. Or maybe I should go there and discipline them."

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