During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses and organizations are reducing staffing or closing in order to keep loved ones and neighbors safe. The Meridian Cares Team knows these changes will impact hundreds of Meridian Township residents who, under normal circumstances, struggle to make rent, pay utilities and buy essential care items every month.
According to data from the last U.S. Census and United Way, 34% of Meridian Township households, or about 13,600 residents, either live below the poverty level (15%) or regularly earn less than the basic cost of living (19%). It is anticipated that these households will be impacted first and greatest by the economic effects of COVID-19.
Under normal circumstances, with generous donations from the community, Meridian Cares helps approximately 60-70 households with financial assistance to pay for rent or utilities and refers hundreds more to other agencies. However, the current situation is not usual or normal, and the Meridian Cares Team knows even more people are going to find themselves needing assistance to make it through this unusual time. An unprecedented number of households in Meridian is expected to need help in the immediate future.
During a time of crisis, it is natural to come together and do what we can to alleviate the uncertainty and stress our loved ones and neighbors may be facing. Although we cannot come together physically right now, we can help in other ways. Your donation will help to keep a family in their home or keep electricity on, and give some relief to a family that needs it here in Meridian Township.
Please join the Meridian Cares Team and Township Leaders to make a difference by giving some certainty to families that need it. You can donate online at the link above, or you can send your donation to Meridian Cares by mail.
Please dial 9-1-1 if you are encountering any type of emergency situation.
COVID-19 Statewide Hotline:
Public health and other experts will answer health-related questions about COVID-19. The team can also direct residents, providers and more to the right resources in their local communities and in other state government departments. The hotline will be open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at 1.888.535.6136.
MSU Heath Team
COVID-19 patient screening: MSU Health Team will begin screening patients March 16th, Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Call 855.958.2MSU (1.855.958.2678)
If you are in the state of Michigan and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, schedule a free screening through our COVID-19 hotline at 833.559.0659
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-10 to temporarily expand eligibility for unemployment benefits. This executive order is effective immediately and until Tuesday, April 14th at 11:59 pm. Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA or 1.866.500.0017.
Under the governor’s order, unemployment benefits would be extended to:
-Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
-Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
-First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
Residents can apply for food assistance through the state at www.michigan.gov/mibridges. If a resident has zero income, they can report that on an application, the state will expedite the application. For the application, you can take pictures of your documents, then upload and attach them to your online application electronically, so you don’t have to step foot inside their office. If you need to apply for utility assistance or Medicaid, it’s all on the same application for assistance – all you have to do is check the appropriate box.
At this time, all food pantries that serve Meridian Township remain open, with enhanced hygiene practices in place. All of the food pantries require an appointment and a current Michigan ID and address verification may be required. Those that need food should contact the site for their ZIP code to request food:
48823: St. Paul Lutheran Church – 517.351.8541
St. John Student Parish – 517.432.5136
48840: Haslett Community Church – 517.339.8383 ext. 15
48864: Okemos Community Church – 517.349.4220
Meridian Township continues to work with community organizations to ensure that residents do not go hungry. Those that wish to help out may consider contributing financially to the food pantries. Residents can also contact call 2-1-1 for statewide volunteer opportunities as well as connections to additional community resources.
Older Adults/Senior Citizen Meal Service:
Tri-County Office on Aging (TCOA): Effective Monday, March 16th and until further notice, the Congregate Senior Dining sites will be closed. Arrangements are being made to provide food to clients, if necessary. Individuals with questions can contact Tasha Stetler at 517.887.1393 or Carl Buonodono at 517.887.1394.
For those individuals who are receiving home delivered meals through Meals on Wheels, they will continue to get their meals, but on an adjusted schedule. For seniors who are not currently enrolled in Meals on Wheels and are interested in receiving home delivered meals should contact the Greater Lansing Meals on Wheels Office at 517.887.1460. Eligibility for Meals on Wheels is 60 years of age or older who are unable to shop, cook, or otherwise provide healthy meals for themselves.
Residents who would like to volunteer as a Meals on Wheels deliver driver, please complete the online application.
Meridian Senior Center: For individuals previously served by our Congregate (Senior) Dining Site, TCOA is willing to deliver meals to the Meridian Senior Center and have the meals distributed as a carryout to your vehicle. However, this service must be requested in advance by calling TCOA Community Nutrition Manager Tasha Stetler at 517.887.1393. As Tasha is in and out of the office, please leave a message and she will get back to you promptly. To confirm your eligibility as an individual age 60 and older, you will be required to provide your name and birthdate and answer a few questions to complete your reservation for the meals.
The Governor has put a temporary block on evictions until April 17th and the courts are closed.
If you have utilities through Consumers Energy, they have put a hold on accounts of low-income and elderly households, so they won’t have their utility service disconnected, but they don’t track income or age, so you may want to call Consumers Energy and ask them to place a hold on your account. Their phone number is 800.477.5050.
The suspension of Meridian Township water shut-offs will continue until further notice to reduce the risk of infection and allow residents the resources to prevent further spread of the virus. Residents with questions regarding water and sewer services in Meridian Township, can contact the Department of Public Works at email@example.com or 517.853.4440. For Emergency Water and Sewer Services, please call 517.349.0010.
The Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) operators and riders will be required to wear a face mask or face covering. New measures also include signage inside buses to ensure that riders observe the prescribed social distance of 6 feet. Riders will not be permitted to stand in bus aisles.
Senior Watch Program
The Senior Watch Program was created to assist senior citizens (60 years of age or older) or disabled adults (55+ with a life threatening illness or injury) who reside within the community we serve. The program provides service to residents that live alone with no means or capacity to leave their home, or do not have friends or family immediately available to check on their well-being. This program is intended to provide qualifying residents with a sense of security as well as comfort in knowing that assistance is coming should something happen.
How it Works:
Interested participants should contact the Meridian Township Police Department at 517.853.4800 or submit an application on the Meridian Township Police page on the Township website. The Program offers the following options:
The Check-In Option: Senior citizens who may live alone, have the opportunity to become part of our call in program. They will decide on a day and time that they will call in or check in with the Police Department. If a call is missed, then an officer will call them or stop over to see if everything’s O.K. (Benefit of this program – the client doesn’t have to be home to call in.)
The Elderly Call Option: On designated days and times (usually Mondays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm) the police department will call the clients home to check on their welfare. Again, if no contact is made an officer will be sent to the home to check on their welfare.
The Senior Watch Option:
This option benefits seniors who may need our help more than others. These seniors may not have family to check on them or provide assistance. The Police Department or a designated volunteer would visit the client once a week (or more) to check on their welfare.
The Meridian Township Police Department believes in a "neighbor helping neighbor" concept and that's why the Meridian Police Senior Watch Program calls for neighborhood volunteers to assist with our programs. The volunteers can sign on to help us help our seniors. Through our volunteers, we will strengthen our relationships between neighbors and neighborhoods. Volunteers interested in assisting can contact our Department or submit an application on the Meridian Township Police page on the Township website.
Small Business Emergency Relief Funds
Meridian Township businesses who need assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak can contact Meridian Township Economic Development Director Ken Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517.853.4568 for funding options.
Bill Payment Assistance
Michigan 2-1-1 is an easy way to connect with help of all kinds, right in your community. Need help with food, housing, or paying bills? Need support in a family crisis or community disaster? We’re here for you. Any time. All the time. Just call, text, or search online and we’ll get you connected.
Call 2-1-1 for community assistance resources as well as volunteer opportunities.
Bill Payment Assistance
State leaders encourage anyone facing financial distress because of COVID-19 to contact your utility or propane supplier to ask what kind of protections, funding, flexible payment options, or energy saving tools and resources are available.
Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) directly through MI Bridges for bill payment assistance or call 855.275.6424. You can also get assistance with the applications process by calling 211 to be referred to a Michigan Energy Assistance Program grantee that can help.
Home Heating Credit
State leaders encourage anyone facing financial distress because of COVID-19 to apply for a Home Heating Credit. Visit the Michigan Department of Treasury’s website to see if you qualify. Even though this funding is distributed by the Department of Treasury, you do not need to pay taxes or wait for a tax return to receive this credit, so apply now if you are eligible. For more information, read the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Home Heating Credit consumer tip.