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In 2021, a Southwest Michigan man, his wife, and their high school aged daughter with special needs found themselves homeless following a plant closure. After being exposed to COVID-19, the family sought assistance from SMCAA through the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) Hotel program, due to their need to quarantine for 14 days. Once their quarantine was complete, the family transferred to the SMCAA Family Homeless Shelter.

In December, the shelter staff began reaching out to community partners and agencies to help find the family holiday gifts for the daughter. "It was the best Christmas ever!" she stated after finding the numerous presents waiting for her. SMCAA was also able to assist the family with a vehicle repair, allowing the father to begin job searching.

Shelter staff also provided case management to the family in order to find stable and affordable housing. Now, the family has moved into a rental house near the father's new employer. This is #CommunityActionStrong!

Dear Colleagues,

As we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week and public servants’ tireless commitment to advancing the common good, I wanted to personally reach out and thank you for your unwavering leadership and support of Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).

On behalf of the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Office of Community Services (OCS), I want to thank you for your continued commitment to public service. Thank you for the life-changing work that you do, day in and day out, to support and uplift vulnerable children, families, and communities. Government needs people like you to address the unprecedented challenges our nation is facing. Without your dedication to public service, the mission and vision of OCS – reducing the causes and consequences of poverty, increasing opportunity and economic security of individuals and families, and revitalizing communities – could not be realized.

We are incredibly grateful for you, and we want to hear more about why you chose public service! Follow us on Twitter @OCS_ACFgov and share your story using the hashtags #PublicServiceRecognitionWeek, #GovPossible, and #ServeBecause.

Additionally, in case you missed it, ACF Assistant Secretary January Contreras recently released a message in observance of Earth Day to thank all OCS grant recipients and partners for their work to address the impact of climate change and promote environmental and racial equity. In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, we hope you will take some time to view this heartfelt message.

With gratitude,

Charisse Johnson Director, Division of Community Assistance Office of Community Services

A client was staying in the SMCAA homeless family shelter with her child. SMCAA is the Housing Assessment and Resource Agency (HARA) for Van Buren County, so staff worked with the client and successfully added her to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Homeless list. In a challenging housing environment, it was amazing that an apartment was located for the client and her child.

However, the client had some debts she needed to pay off in order to improve her credit before moving into the apartment. These debts were paid off following the client receiving her tax refunds back, including EITC and child tax credit. With her credit bettered, the client was approved to rent the apartment unit and approved for HCV. SMCAA also assisted the client in being approved for Emergency Service Grant's (ESG) Prevention program. The Agency paid the client's rental deposit and the client and her child moved into the apartment. The family will remain with HCV moving forward.

The client thanked SMCAA by saying, "Thank you so very much for all of your help and support. You gave me a second chance and I'm gonna do good things."

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