MI Hidden Talent Tour

A statewide tour to inspire Michigan companies to hire workers with disabilities is coming to Ann Arbor on Sept 24, 2015. Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Bernstein will share stories about companies who found valuable workers who have a disability. As part of the MI Hidden Talent Tour, these state leaders, along with local organizations helping with this effort, will provide resources and answer questions for business leaders who want to explore this untapped pool of talent. The event takes place at Washtenaw Community College, Morris J. Lawrence Auditorium, 4800 East Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Welcome reception at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6:00 p.m. Please RSVP by registering here.

Double Up Food Bucks!

If you receive Public Food Assistance, you can receive Double Up Food Bucks and buy twice the amount of goods at area Farmer's Markets. This program allows recipients to spend any amount up to $20.00 per day using your Bridge Card to purchase Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB). Double that $20 to $40 by spending it on healthy,delicious Farmers Market foods like locally-grown fruits & vegetables. What a fantastic way to stretch your food budget!

Need a Picture ID?

If you've been asked for a picture ID and unable to produce it, you may likely be able to get a Washtenaw County ID Card. Applicants must appear in person at the Washtenaw County Vital Records Division. There are point values attributed to a broad range of documents that can serve as proof for applicants to get a picture ID card when they may have been unable to get ID in the past. The cost of the card is $25.00 and is for all ages. Check out the Washtenaw County ID Project on Facebook to find out about events to promote the ID card. Community members are encouraged to get a card in an effort to destigmatize it for those who have no other identification card options. Head on down to the Clerk's office in room 120 to look for a special CODE and earn a badge, too!

August Volunteer Opportunities

Are you looking for ways to volunteer or ways to support your community? Look no further! SOS Community Services has a number of opportunities this month to fulfill your altruistic inclinations.

SOS Community Services is a community-based nonprofit that is dedicated to preventing and ending family homelessness in Washtenaw County through partnerships with caring individuals, local businesses and organizations, social service agencies and professionals.

Here are a few ways that YOU can directly help:

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, August 21-23:
Each year, SOS sells handmade ceramic bowls donated by local artists at the Heritage Festival to raise money for our food pantry. They are currently looking for volunteers to help run the booth and assist customers with their purchases.

After School Children’s Programs:
If you are patient, cheerful and enjoy working with children, consider an after school program. Volunteers will help homeless youth by providing basic tutoring and facilitating creative activities on a weekly basis.

Food Pantry:
In partnership with Food Gatherers, SOS offers a weekly produce distribution, and an appointment only choice-style pantry from which families can collect their preferred grocery and personal items up to six times a year. Volunteers will help stock shelves, clean and assist families make healthy decisions during shopping times.

If you are interested in any of the above volunteer opportunities, please contact Katie (734) 484-9900 or email volunteer@soscs.org for more information.

"Heat and Eat" policy updates

Attention social service professionals, advocates and individuals interested in getting assistance with the completion of the Home Heating Credit (HHC)!

Recent changes in Michigan’s “Heat and Eat” policy has made applying for the HHC even more important as it may provide a mechanism to restore lost Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits. From March 1, 2010 to February 7, 2014 all participants in Michigan’s FAP received a $1 payment through the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This payment under the “heat and eat” policy enabled the Department of Human Services to claim additional Federal funding for food assistance each month, providing FAP recipients with an increase in their benefit of $76.73 on average. Michigan has since abandoned the “heat and eat” policy, resulting in a reduction in FAP benefits for approximately 18.2% of program recipients, many of them low-income seniors.

There are three ways to become or continue to be eligible for increased FAP and SNAP benefits; in the past 12 months, meet eligibility for and receive:

• $20.01 or greater in LIHEAP of by applying for/receiving a HHC by September 30, 2015;
• $20.01 or greater in State Emergency Relief (SER) from DHS for utility assistance
• $20.01 or greater in Michigan Energy Assistance Program Funding.

Need to apply for an HHC for your household? Looking to help your residents or clients to apply for a HHC? Please register for Home Heating Credit Refresher: Maximizing Resident Benefits which takes place on Aug 20, 2015 @ 2:00 PM EDT

"Heat and Eat" policy updates"Heat and Eat" policy updates

CodeRED Emergency Telephone Calling System

Boil-water alerts, flooding and other dangers can strike with little or no warning. If you rely on a cell phone only or have recently disconnected your landline telephone, then it’s more important than ever to sign up for the city’s CodeREDTM notification system. This could be the city’s only way to reach you in an emergency situation.

The CodeRED™ Emergency Telephone Calling System is used for mass emergency notifications to notify residents and businesses, within minutes, of an emergency or a potential hazard. The system will call each number and will leave voicemail messages on landlines and cell phones. Register today!

You can select text, cell phone, home phone and even email notification options. When registering, it is important to set up an account so you can manage and update your own contact information. When you set up your account, you can let the city know if you require special assistance in an emergency. This free and vital service is managed by the City of Ann Arbor office of emergency management.

PLEASE NOTE: The City of Ann Arbor's CodeREDTM emergency notification system will only contact residents who live within Ann Arbor city limits. It will not notify outlying areas, such as Ypsilanti, Milan, Dexter, Saline, etc.

Come on a Nature Walk Thursday, August 6 at Furstenberg Nature Area!

As part of the Ann Arbor District Library's partnership with Natural Area Preservation, we organize nature walks at various local natural areas throughout the summer! These walks are appropriate for all ages, especially those interested in learning about local flora and fauna. This coming Thursday, August 6, the nature walk will be at Furstenberg Nature Area. This 38-acre park, located off of Fuller Road, contains mesic forest, prairie and wetland ecosystems. The land was first acquired by the City of Ann Arbor in 1971 and much of the 1980s were spent turning it into the park it is today.

The walk begins at 7:00pm and goes until 8:30pm. We'll meet in the parking lot off of Fuller Road. Wear shoes that can get a little muddy and bring water and bug spray if you'd like!

If you're interested in learning more about the ecosystems and communities in the Huron River watershed, try the lovely little book Along the Huron: the natural communities along the Huron river corridor in Ann Arbor, Michigan, available in the library's collection.

25th ADA Anniversary at Ann Arbor Amtrak Station - July 23

On Thursday, July 23 at 2:00 pm everyone is invited to a 25th American Disabilities Act (ADA) Anniversary and celebration of the new Setback/Shuttle Platform at the Ann Arbor Amtrak Station. The Lt. Governor of Michigan will be on hand to officially recognize the occasion, because as Amtrak ADA Project Director Gary Talbot noted: “this could have only been developed in Michigan because that’s where the creativity, capability and capacity is for design, development and prototype build.” This solution benefits everyone with level boarding, getting on/off the train at stations that also have freight traffic. For more information, contact Gary Talbot’s office at 267-702-1901.

Huron River Day!

The City of Ann Arbor is hosting its annual celebration of the beautiful Huron River this week-end. The public is invited to Huron River Day! Haven't been? It's tons of fun! HRD activities are held at Gallup Park from noon to 4 p.m.this Sunday, July 12th. Have fun discovering and learning about the Huron River. Paddle a boat with $5/boat canoe and kayak rentals, and enjoy live music all on the banks of our lovely Huron River. Among the many activities offered will be a children’s tent with art & science activities + the enviro-challenge game; have your picture taken in a canoe photo booth; catch a fish; dip for river bugs; see a live animal program with the Leslie Science & Nature Center; step into a Butterfly House; enjoy the history of the river with the Classic Small Boat Show; make a craft (and find a GAMECODE) with AADL or try out stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Check out Gallup Park for more information, call 734.794.6240 or visit www.a2gov.org/HRD.

TheRide Route Updates

Beginning Sunday, August 23, a number of service improvements will affect many routes in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. The highlight of these changes include extended weekend service on Saturdays and Sundays; increased frequency of stops along some routes; and a new route, #67, with hourly service from Meijer on Carpenter to Wal-mart.

For detailed service changes, be sure to go to TheRideYourWay.org.

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