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$30M distributed by Board of Commissioners hopes to create 'transformative change' in Washtenaw County

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A little more than $30 million of federal funding will be spent to help areas of Washtenaw County impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some local officials say this is intended to create “transformative change."

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved the distribution of the funds from the American Rescue Plan at last night’s meeting.

There is a laundry list of areas that will receive funding. Among them are support for seniors, the health department, and stormwater infrastructure, just to name a few.

Justin Hodge, the commissioner from the Fifth District, is excited about the $5 million that will go toward creating a financial equity center.

“Which will give us opportunities to be able to support people that are struggling economically. Among other things, one thing that we’ll offer is free financial counseling for anyone in Washtenaw County that would like it.”

Other offerings from the center include services for unbanked and underbanked residents and a fund for low barrier grants for small businesses who haven’t been able to access COVID relief funds.

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Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to WEMU after more than two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media. Most recently, he worked at Michigan Radio as a producer and a fill-in host. Prior to that, he worked for Advance Digital where he managed newspaper websites from across the country, including While his resume is filled with sports broadcasting experience (Big Ten Network, 97.1FM The Ticket, 610AM WIP etc.), radio reporting (90.1FM WRTI) and odd jobs (an editor for the FIFA video game series for EA Sports), he brings a passion for news and storytelling to WEMU.
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