SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) – The opportunity to leave part of the past behind.
That’s what brought hundreds of people across the Great Lakes Bay region to Saginaw Saturday.
A felony expungement clinic allowed visitors to take their first steps towards a fresh start.
“It feels awful. Um, at one point I fell into a depression because I didn’t feel like I was worthy enough for a job. And I am,” Colleen Kavanagh said.
Kavanagh came to the Saginaw County Community Action Center to get an old marijuana charge wiped away.
She says the felony has made it hard for her to be a better member of society.
“I’ve lost jobs because of my background checks. I’ve lost housing because of my background check. I’ve been denied car insurance,” she said.
Saturday’s expungement clinic was a collaboration between the city of Saginaw, the State Attorney General, and a local group called “HELP.”
Hundreds of people like Kavanagh — waiting for hours to talk with attorneys to begin the legal process.
All of them– with their own reasons to wipe the slate clean.
Expungement means that an old felony charge is cleared from public record and won’t show up on something like a background check.
Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore tells us the sheer demand for services shows just how much of a difference that can make.
“We begin cleaning up so that people can get a decent job,” Moore said.
Which is why Kavanagh says she’s aiming high.
“A $100,000 a year job! Something that I can retire with,” she said.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.