City explains chore services for eligible seniors

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 15, 2016

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Sterling Heights has done some of the heavy lifting in arranging options for senior citizens and other residents who live in the city who have difficulty with shoveling snow or mowing lawns by themselves.

During a March 1 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool reminded residents that some people are eligible to receive assistance in the areas of grass cutting, snow removal or odd household jobs.

According to Vanderpool, one group that offers such help for seniors is Macomb Community Action, through the Senior Citizen Chore Service program.

“There are currently 66 Sterling Heights residents in the program, and there is more room for additional participants,” he said. “The process requires about a five-minute intake over the phone, and then a visit to the individual’s home to fill out the necessary paperwork.”

Although winter is coming to an end, Macomb Community Action keeps a list of eligible seniors who need snow cleared off a driveway or sidewalks after two inches of snow or more falls.

“While it’s too late for this year, certainly individuals can sign up for next year,” he said.

However, the program’s participants will soon be able to take advantage of lawn mowing assistance, Vanderpool said. Program recipients are alerted in April about whether they are included, and their lawns tend to be cut weekly from April to July, and on alternating weeks from August to October, depending on the weather. Vanderpool encouraged seniors to start the sign-up process so they can be ready in time for service to start in April or May.

For minor jobs such as smoke alarm installation, lock replacement, or minor plumbing or electrical work, Macomb Community Action can also arrange help for residents who qualify. According to the agency, the resident might have to buy materials and pay part of the service costs.

City officials credit federal Community Development Block Grant funding for making the chore program possible. People who are 60 or older and who fall within the correct income brackets may sign up for the program. A household of one person may make up to $36,000 per year, and homes with two people may make up to $45,000 per year, according to officials.

Residents who fall outside Macomb Community Action’s income eligibility guidelines and still need yard help may pay for services through the business Plowz & Mowz, which arranges contractors to provide on-demand lawn mowing and snow removal. Users may request service online or through a mobile app, and a credit card is required, Vanderpool said. He added that seniors who need help accessing the service can also call the city offices.

“We have 1,400 people that have now signed up for the Plowz & Mowz service in our city,” he said.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489. Learn more about the Senior Citizen Chore Service program via Macomb Community Action at mca.macombgov.org/MCA-Seniors-Chore or by calling (586) 469-5228. To reach Plowz & Mowz, visit www.sterling-heights.net/Plowz.

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