NewsLocal NewsMichiganCapitol


State resources for crime victims that cover burials, rehab services often go underutilized

Crime Scene
Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 16:25:39-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Victim Services Division of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has a crime-compensation program that often goes unnoticed.

They've done a media campaign but fear the information doesn't sink in, for good reason: no one expects to need their help.

“In our minds, we never see ourselves as a person who would be the victim of a crime. You don’t really take that information in, I think a lot of times,” SAFE Program Coordinator for Victim Services Shalonna Banks said.

Things like crime scene cleanup, grief counseling, mental health counseling, and medical bills incurred as the victim of a crime are all covered.

Rehabilitation services are also available, and the program's director, Shalonna Banks, says they are often the most underutilized.

“Costs that are associated with modifications to your home or your car; if you’re the victim of a crime, say you become a paraplegic or a quadriplegic, we can pay for modifications to your home, like widening doors, having a ramp installed,” Banks said.

Funeral costs are also covered. The program will reimburse people for burial fees. However, the help doesn't end simply if you can't afford to front the money.

“That’s where I think people get hung up too. They hear 'reimbursement program' and stop, thinking, 'I can’t pay for that out of pocket.' Not the case. We pay providers directly too. If you come to our program, and you literally don’t have $5,000 to bury a loved one, that’s why we’re here. We will pay the funeral home directly for that funeral. It’s hard out here. And we understand that,” Banks said.

The program has existed for decades and has partnerships with every county prosecutor's office in the state. They can be reached directly here.

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube