Homeless Awareness Week Shines Spotlight on Vulnerable Citizens – Nov. 16

Lansing, Michigan November 16, 2015 – There were 33,896 fewer Michigan residents living in shelters or on the streets in 2014 because helping the homeless in our state is a top priority.

At the 10th Annual Summit on Ending Homelessness October 28-29, MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer said one person experiencing homelessness is too many.

“Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home,” Elsenheimer said. “We are committed to ending homelessness in Michigan through evidence-based practices like Housing First, permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing.”

Housing First is an approach to ending homelessness that focuses on quickly providing homeless families and individuals with housing, then looking at what additional services they need. Programs utilizing this approach demonstrate better outcomes for housing retention and stability and result in less time that a household experiences homeless.

Elsenheimer pointed to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Family Options. The study indicates that rapid re-housing is the most promising crisis homelessness intervention. At minimum this approach performs as well as other crisis interventions such as shelter and transitional housing, and sometimes better.

The rapid re-housing method is also considerably less expensive at $6,000 per family stay compared to the most expensive type of intervention, transitional housing, at $32,000 per family stay. Given equal effectiveness, the significantly lower cost associated with rapid re-housing means that more people can be housed and helped.

Michigan has also strengthened its focus on serving veterans. Many Continuum of Care agencies (CoCs) around the state have collaborated with the Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs as well as other state and local partners to take action on initiatives like Zero: 2016 to identify veterans experiencing homelessness and move them into housing.

This important work supports the Federal goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

 In January, Governor Snyder through executive order created the new Interagency Council on Homelessness and tasked members with developing and overseeing the implementation of the state’s plan to end homelessness.

Anyone in Michigan or across the U.S. in need of access to safe, habitable and clean housing can call 2-1-1- for help. This is a toll-free number that connects indviduals in need of assistance to a community resource specialist in their area. To learn more about MSHDA’s homeless solutions visit Michigan.gov/mshda or call toll-free 1-855-MI-MSHDA (1-855-646-7432).

National Homelessness Awareness Week started Saturday and runs through Sunday, Nov. 22. This national campaign shines the spotlight on the need to address homelessness in our country, state and local communities.


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